A smart transition to tablet-based leakage detection

The ability to access network information on tablets and smartphones is another step forward in the digitalisation of the water sector, writes Chris Moore, product line manager at Ovarro.

A tablet-based leakage detection system has been launched by Ovarro.

Next generation leak noise correlator Eureka5 will become the basis for Ovarro’s leak detection platform. The system displays information on an Android tablet and does not require a dedicated processor or laptop, cutting down the number of devices field teams need to have in their vans.

Digital transformation of the UK water sector is well underway, with utilities now widely integrating smart, data-driven solutions to manage their water and wastewater networks. When it comes to leakage reduction, smart technology is giving the sector the ability to pinpoint precise locations of leaks, in real time. Utilities are seeing the benefit of this switch, with 13 water companies in England and Wales achieving their 2020-2021 performance targets for leakage.

A major driver of this transition is consumer use of smartphones and tablets – nearly everyone uses some kind of digital device, a shift that has been replicated by water companies, accelerated by the skills of digital natives joining the sector, who have never known a time without the Internet and digital devices.

This has made the development and implementation of smart, user-friend technology easier and faster. At the same time, the cost of these technologies is also coming down while they become more intuitive, smart and secure.

In terms of hardware, Eureka5 comprises two radio transmitters – a radio receiver with signal-processing electronics which interconnects with the Eureka Go app, as well as Ovarro’s existing cloud-based portable, PrimeWeb. GPS technology enables precise pinpointing of leaks, including in difficult conditions, such as where there is substantial background noise, where only the quietest of leak noise is present, and on a variety of pipe materials, including plastic.

Eureka5 enables users to listen to noise on the pipe, upload this data directly to Eureka Go and view the data instantly on a tablet, rather than the processing unit used previously. As well simpler functionality for operators, who Ovarro liaised with closely when developing the product, the solution reduces Capex costs. Why have multiple different versions of a PC in the back of a van when operators can work off one tablet?

Smart networks are already significantly improving leakage performance. The ability to carry out multiple tasks on just one device will further streamline processes, making processes simpler and faster for operators.

Looking forward to the water industry’s 2025-2030 asset management period – AMP 8 – we can expect a full rollout of app-based network management tools, all accessible on a single tablet or smartphone.