Microsoft and FIDO Tech launch collaboration to drive down water losses

FIDO AI graphic with leak sizing

A new agreement with technology corporation Microsoft is helping FIDO, a technology company, make progress against its water replenishment goal, part of its overarching water positive commitment.

In a said to be first-of-its-kind replenishment project, FIDO’s technology has been deployed in London, UK to reduce water network losses through the power of actionable artificial intelligence (AI).

London’s water utility Thames Water has already committed to reduce its overall leakage to 20% by 2025 and to half leakage by 2050, but the average amount of water lost to pipeline networks globally is much higher.

The World Bank estimates that as a global average, 30% of the world’s piped water is lost before it reaches the customer, most of it due to leaks and theft. In developing nations, roughly 45 million m3 of water are lost daily, worth over US$3bn per year.

Fixing water losses impacts water availability across local watersheds in a quantifiable way. By making more water available to consumers and easing pressure on water sources, less water needs treating, reducing a utility’s energy footprint.

FIDO has the sector’s AI solutions, with the distinction of being able to identify leaks and, most importantly, rank them by size, even in noisy networks, regardless of pipe material or condition. The Microsoft collaboration will help expand FIDO’s coverage across the Thames Water network, giving visibility on an additional 350km of water pipe network.

In 2020, Microsoft pledged to be water positive by 2030. This commitment is made up of five key pillars: reducing water use, replenishing water sources, providing people with access to water and sanitation services, advocating for effective water policy and driving innovation and data digitisation.

Melanie Nakagawa, chief sustainability officer at Microsoft, said: “The global volume of non-revenue water, or freshwater that is lost due to leaks, is estimated to be 346 million m3 per day, amounting to 30% of water system input volumes across the world. This first-of-its-kind leak detection technology replenishment project in London with FIDO Tech will reduce water lost to leakage in London’s ageing distribution network, leveraging FIDO’s AI-enabled acoustic leak analysis.”

FIDO has been working with Thames Water since 2021 and has partnered with Northumbrian Water to reduce leakage by 37% across 15 assigned district metering areas (DMAs).

Victoria Edwards, co-founder and CEO of FIDO Tech, said: “What makes FIDO AI so disruptive, is what makes water positivity possible. It is quantifiable, transparent, immediate and local. [By] delivering tangible benefits locally, our model democratises water network digitisation more widely. Every water leak FIDO finds in central London adds more knowledge into FIDO’s neural networks, making it better at finding leaks anywhere in the world.”

Victoria Edwards, CEO Fido Tech

Nevil Muncaster, London operations director at Thames Water, added: “95% of leaks are underground and not visible. The capital also presents challenges which makes it trickier, including noisier and busier roads. By partnering with Microsoft and FIDO, we are able to adopt and invest in this technology, protecting our water resources in the process. We are also carrying out more than 1,300 repairs per week — that is one every 7.5mins.”