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SA Water’s smart network trial detects over 50% of water leaks

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Australian water company SA Water has announced that its smart network technology has detected over 50% of all water main breaks and leaks in Adelaide’s central business district (CBD) since the start of a trial in July 2017.

The AUD$ 4 million (almost €2.5 million) trial employs over 300 acoustic detection sensors to monitor and interpret sounds for any cracks or leaks in Adelaide’s water pipes.

The sensors currently monitor around half of the city’s water main network, covering an average range of 100m.

“Our sensors detect around 200 environmental noises every day, and our people and systems continue to improve their understanding of acoustic patterns to help distinguish circumferential or longitudinal cracks in our pipes from other sounds picked up by the technology,” said CEO Roch Cheroux.

“Along with over 300 acoustic sensors, our CBD network comprises smart meters, mass pressure sensors, water quality sensors, mass flow meters and pressure transient/hydrophone sensors. Most reactive incidents were sudden failures that didn’t offer any detectable signs, and the reality is there will be some that behave in this way, but they still teach us about how the rest of the network responds.”

The smart network has since been expanded to a further six locations in South Australia and is now able to monitor sewer and odour leaks.

“We are the first water utility in the world to implement a range of Internet of Things-enabled sensors at scale in a defined geographical area, and it is important that we share the knowledge we have built with the wider industry as well as continuing to improve our own network management practices,” Roch added.

“While main breaks are often tough to prevent due to soil movement, weather and other environmental factors, we will continue to use initiatives like smart technology to proactively prevent their frequency and reduce potential customer impact.”