Trial Looks To Space To Help Detect Water Leaks

15 March 2016

Technology developed to search for water on other planets could benefit the Victorian Water Industry, with a trial now under way to test its capacity to detect leaking water mains.

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting the trial though the Intelligent Water Networks Program (IWN). The program is a partnership between the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, the state’s 17 water corporations and industry peak body VicWater.

The technology uses satellite imagery taken 650km above the Earth to detect drinking water in the ground.

Several images are taken over a few weeks, and analysed to identify the spectral ‘signature’ of drinking water. The imagery is then laid over GIS maps of pipe networks to pinpoint potentially leaking pipes.

If an area identified on the satellite image as containing drinking water matches up with the pipe network map, field crews can then go in to check for a leak.

The pilot project involves Western Water, City West Water and Yarra Valley Water and covers a geographical area of more than 3,000 square kilometres.

After two months of compiling satellite imagery, field validation of leak sites began in February.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville

“The water industry estimates up to 160 million litres of drinking water is lost each day in Victoria to leaks, so finding better ways to detect and fix leaks is critical.”

“Investing in innovation in this area has the potential to save millions of litres of precious drinking water every day, benefiting the whole community.”

“This project is one of many currently under way to investigate how we can use new technologies for greater efficiency in the water industry.”

Quotes attributable to Intelligent Water Networks Chair Neil Brennan

“We are hoping to have a preliminary report in March that will tell us how this technology has performed in the trial so far.”

“If it meets the pilot objectives, it could have widespread benefits for the water industry and our customers.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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