Innovative technology trial to address water loss

Fibre optic cables already in the ground could become an early warning system for leaking water pipes and water loss through a new technology trialled in Melbourne.

Fibre optic cables already in the ground could become an early warning system for leaking water pipes and water loss. This follows the development of a new technology trialled in Melbourne.

Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) is a body that fuels innovation in the water industry on behalf of its members across the sector. It is funding the trial as part of a consortium that includes FiberSense, Greater Western Water, and Veolia.

Together, they are testing the theory that they can quickly find and pinpoint places where water is being lost from the network through bursts, leaks, strikes or construction activities by testing the system in the GWW water supply network.

It uses the existing telecommunications fibre as a massive array of ultra-precise vibration sensors. They can detect strikes or damage and the vibrations caused by leaks, big and small. Any detected issues trigger real-time alerts to inform swift action.

The technology does not impact the core performance of the water or data networks as it does not physically change any infrastructure.

Jason Cotton, Program Director at IWN, said they aimed to enhance intelligence in the water, sewer, and recycled water networks to enable proactive operational and strategic decisions from real-time data.

“We are eager to explore the capabilities provided by the FiberSense suite. We want to work together to save substantial amounts of water across the network by early detection and repair of leaks and bursts.”

New technology could help deal with water loss

Dr Mark Englund, Founder and CEO of FiberSense, said the company had seen an increased demand for innovative and high-tech solutions. They want to address growing environmental challenges such as water distribution integrity.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with IWN and GWW as well as Veolia – a group of organisations at the global forefront of managing water assets and addressing the challenges of limiting non-revenue water loss.” Dr Englund said.

“The trial in Melbourne follows similar projects with major water companies overseas. FiberSense technology represents a significant stride towards minimising water wastage and maximising the efficiency of water distribution systems,” he said.

Greater Western Water Acting General Manager Growth and Infrastructure Bri George said addressing network issues could bring significant benefits.

“We are always keen to explore innovative technology on early detection of leakage in our water network to assist with minimising water losses. We look forward to understanding this trial’s outcomes and how it could save water. That means better environmental and financial outcomes for customers and communities,” she said.

Quentin Bechet, Project Manager at Veolia, said they aimed to be the benchmark company for Ecological Transformation.

“As leaders in environmental services, we are constantly looking for new solutions to minimise the impact of human activities on the planet. We believe the FiberSense technology can help the water industry reduce water losses, thus protecting one of our most precious resources. Because producing drinking water is responsible for significant carbon emissions, saving water will also reduce the carbon footprint of the water industry.”

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