Finding an Efficient Route to Improved Leakage Performance

18.10.2023
Water companies have set out 2025-2030 leakage ambitions that, if achieved, would put them among the top five performing countries in Europe. With higher operational costs and resource challenges to factor in, the supply chain can offer a more efficient route to success, writes Barbara Hathaway, Ovarro.
Finding an Efficient Route to Improved Leakage Performance

Enigma3hyQ leak logger (Image source: Ovarro)

Ambitious leakage reduction plans put forward by water companies in England and Wales aim to cut leakage by over a quarter by 2030, compared with the start of the decade.
The proposals are a key aspect of water companies’ 2025-2030 businesses plans, which, if approved by regulator Ofwat, would deliver the largest ever investment in the sector.

However, the transition from asset management periods – AMP7 to AMP8 – comes with more immediate challenges. Water companies must deliver a short sharp improvement by 2025, following Ofwat’s 2022-2023 performance report, which found the majority of companies had under-performed in leakage and other areas.

Ovarro works in partnership with UK water companies and understands they have been impacted by rising operational costs and labour market challenges, in the same way as all businesses. Suppliers should now be positioning their offerings to drive increased productivity and efficiency for water companies – how can they help their clients achieve a better outcome with the same resources or less?

As-a-service solutions, such as Ovarro’s LeakNavigator, are becoming widely available in water and can go a long way towards solving resource issues. The models are subscription-based, with infrastructure that is entirely managed by an external supplier.

LeakNavigator takes complete ownership of the upfront logger deployment planning and day-to-day data analysis, directly alerting technicians to points of interest. Having the entire analytics process managed by a supplier, frees up skilled leakage technicians to target their time on pinpointing leaks with a very high likelihood of success.
A reduction in non-revenue water loss and of course, reducing the likelihood of regulatory penalties for missed targets, are also efficiencies to be gained.
Following its launch in February 2023, LeakNavigator is recording a combined performance increase of 20-25% in total leaks found, plus a 30% reduction in lost field time through false positives and a point-of-interest-to-leak conversion rate of over 85%. The system is a tangible example of how closer working with suppliers can bring more efficient outcomes.

Another example was the development of the Enigma3hyQ leak logger, in partnership with Anglian Water, to help solve the challenge of detecting leaks on plastic pipes. This was historically, one of the industry’s biggest challenges as plastic pipes do not propagate leak noise in the same way as metal pipes .

Enigma3hyQ loggers use immersed hydrophone sensors that ‘listen’ to sound waves transmitted inside the pipe to pinpoint leaks and can pick up vibrations over longer distances. This means they are valuable for use on wider diameter pipes and over longer distances for both metallic and plastic pipes.
Technology has a critical role to play in improving performance and suppliers are ready to support with solutions that can be implemented quickly. I would encourage all water companies to talk to their technology providers about what their outcomes should be and their strategies for getting there.

Working collaboratively with suppliers will help move towards those outcomes in an efficient and cost-effective way. Early engagement will also influence suppliers’ own product roadmaps, achieving better outcomes for all.

Source: Ovarro Ltd.

More articles on this topic

Pinpoint Leak Detection on Plastic Pipes Now Possible

23.05.2024 -

As plastic water networks replace ageing Victorian mains, leakage detection methods are also evolving, writes Barbara Hathaway, Ovarro’s technology leader for leakage solutions. Major upgrades of ageing water mains are being planned across England and Wales between 2025 and 2030, as part of utilities’ commitments to cut leakage by more than a quarter.

Read more

Data-Driven Blockage Detection Cuts Pollution

15.05.2024 -

Anglian Water has applied Ovarro’s data-driven early-warning technology across all rising main sewers, meaning bursts and blockages are detected before serious pollution occurs. Anglian Water pledges in its 2025-2030 draft business plan to eliminate serious pollution and reduce total number of pollution incidents by 40%, with a strategy that includes bringing in machine learning.

Read more

Davao City Moves to Fixed Network Leakage Monitoring

26.02.2024 -

Installation of 320 Ovarro remote correlating loggers has taken place in Davao City in the Philippines, with a major leak detected just days later. The volume of water saved means a large-scale project to construct a new production well can be put on hold. Davao is the largest city on the island of Mindanao and the third largest in the Philippines. With a rapidly increasing population, the city is considered one of the country’s fastest economic growth areas.

Read more

Smart Platforms Enabling Faster Leak Detection

15.02.2024 -

Using cloud-based platforms for more efficient leak detection will be the subject of an Ovarro presentation at the Philippine Association of Water Districts (PAWD) annual convention. Channel manager Craig Abbott will highlight Ovarro cloud solutions that analyse network noise to provide actionable information for leakage reduction.

Read more

Update Gives Insights into Non-acoustic Leak Technologies 

08.02.2024 -

Technology company Ovarro has partnered with UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR) to update the sector on advancements in non-acoustic leak detection techniques. The update provides an overview of the current non-acoustic methods that have been trialled and deployed since 2016, when a first iteration of the study was published, and their relative cost and effectiveness. The report identifies successful applications, potential deployment pitfalls and best practice guidance for trials.

Read more