Trans-Atlantic collaboration to reduce water loss in Phoenix, Arizona, US

A new global collaboration is being deployed across the Phoenix metropolitan area to reduce 350km of water network losses through the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in 10 years.

Oldcastle Infrastructure — a CRH company in infrastructure solutions — will deliver leak detection and non-revenue water (NRW) management through its strategic partnership with UK-based AI and technology solutions provider, FIDO Tech.

Financed by Microsoft, this 10-year project will cover 350km of the water pipeline network operated by EPCOR, reportedly the largest private utility in Arizona, to make progress against its water replenishment goal.

Phoenix, which is said to be located in the driest regions in the US, has struggled with water scarcity, making it imperative for local stakeholders to seek solutions. The city’s population growth and unpredictable weather patterns have placed stress on the area’s water supply. Recent reports showed a reduction in groundwater levels and reservoir capacities, necessitating action.

The Phoenix development follows the first project between Microsoft and FIDO Tech being delivered in London with UK utility, Thames Water. FIDO AI solutions reportedly identify leaks and rank them by size, even in noisy networks, regardless of pipe material or condition. Detecting and fixing water losses impacts water availability across local watersheds in a quantifiable way.

In 2020, Microsoft pledged to be water positive by 2030. This commitment is made up of five key pillars: reducing water use intensity, replenishing water sources, providing people with access to water and sanitation services, advocating for water policy and driving innovation to scale water solutions. The water lead at Microsoft, Eliza Roberts said, “We are excited to partner with FIDO using AI-enabled acoustic analysis to reduce water lost to leakage in Arizona Colorado river basin.”