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South West Water’s approach to finding leaks out of this world

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South West Water has teamed up with data analysts ASTERRA to use satellites to help find water leaks underground to help reduce wastage across its network.
This technology is the same as is used to search for water on other planets, such as Mars, and works by using microwave sensors onboard a satellite in space to take photos of the earth showing potential water leaks.
As microwaves can penetrate up to 2 metres underground, the data will highlight potential leaks which may not be showing above ground so South West Water’s leakage technicians can locate more leaks and make necessary repairs.
Wayne Arscott, leakage delivery manager at South West Water, said: “We are continually working to improve our leakage performance and are on track to meet our leakage reduction plan, using innovative technology to identify leaks.
“We maintain enough underground water pipes to reach Australia if laid end to end and investing in technology like this is key to helping us achieve our challenging leakage reduction targets.”
Steve Baker, ASTERRA UK&I managing director, said: “We are excited to be working in this beautiful part of the world with South West Water and our UK partner, SUEZ. ASTERRA’s product, called Recover, will help save treated water and thereby reduce the associated carbon emissions. Having this opportunity to help South West Water continue their performance improvement while also looking after the environment is particularly rewarding.”
In the last two years South West Water has doubled its number of leak detection staff and significantly increased the number of Customer Leakage Technicians. The company is also using remote sensing technology which are acoustic loggers placed on the network that listen for leaks 24/7.