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Digital innovation helps track pipeline water theft

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Hi-tech GPS trackers have helped Thames Water track down companies that illegally take water from the network in the UK - protecting the supply against those who use water without being billed for supply.
In an industry-leading move, the UK’s largest water company has worked with standpipe provider Aquam Water Services to develop digital capability on standpipes, devices used to safely extract water from the network without the risk of contaminating the supply.
The devices allow Thames Water to track where water is being taken from the network and identify connections that have been made without permission.
This innovation means investigators are no longer required to track down offences in person as they happen.
Claire Rumens, Thames Water’s illegal connections manager, said: “Adding this digital capability to standpipes has been a game changer for us, as it gives us greater visibility of where water is being taken from the network and allows us to identify unauthorised use quickly and efficiently. We are working with the wider sector to share our knowledge and insight as we all try to make best use of our precious resources.
“We will always strive to uncover illegal use on our network as unauthorised connections to the network are not fair to customers who comply fully with our requirements.”
Standpipes are rented out to companies to allow them to legally extract water from the network.
The digital devices are each registered to a water company and only devices that are registered to Thames Water can be used on the company’s network.