Affinity Water: Improving leak detection

Affinity Water, the largest water-only utility in Britain serves an estimated 3.6 million people in South East England, the most populated of the nation’s nine official regions, has joined forces with telemetry and multi-utility monitoring specialist Halma Water Management (HWM) with the goal of considerably lowering water leakage rates with the use of PermaNET+ fixed network telemetry.

Managing Director of wholesale operations at Affinity Water, Drew Ritchie, said, “Using the HWM PermaNET+ solution, we can continuously monitor 25 per cent of our network, identifying leaks in a matter of hours, rather than the days it takes using conventional techniques and technologies.”

Currently, Affinity is already using data logging technology from HWM in order to keep an eye on its network’s performance, but the installation of PermaNET+ will notably improve the leak detection across the network.

Moreover, PermaNET+ also symbolises the noise logging developments; the data the noise logger produces is automatically forwarded to the user, eliminating the need to physically visit the sites to collect the required data. The data transmission will occur through a mix of short message service (SMS) or general packet radio service (GPRS) cellular communication. To help pinpoint the location of the leak, an audio file will be sent for correlation and remote monitoring. Located entirely underground, PermaNET+ is also less obtrusive and can be efficiently employed on a large-scale.

Its practicality is crucial to the long-term plan Affinity Water has for lowering leakage rates, and the organisation has set ambitious goals for the improvement of its sprawling network. “Of all the UK (United Kingdom) water companies, at Affinity Water we’ve set ourselves the largest percentage leakage reduction over the current five-year [AMP6 (Asset Management Programme 6)] planning period,” Ritchie said. “We’re achieving this with HWM’s PermaNET+, challenging industry thinking and methodologies to change the economics of finding leaks.”

PermaNET+ has the capability to single out leaks much faster than conventional methods by overseeing the water network infrastructure permanently without lengthy site visits, enabling speedy deployment to patch up any leaks that may spring. This would considerably reduce both the operational costs of finding leaks in the water network as well as water loss.

With the installation of 20,000 PermaNET+ systems in the water network, the project will be completed in May 2017, and Affinity will have a figure to denote its long-term devotion to improving water leakage rates, as Ritchie explained, “We’re looking forward to working with HWM over the next 10 years to enhance the system and use leakage information in new and innovative ways. Our customers deserve the best. Together, we will meet the challenges defined in our business plan.”