We have been taught about the importance of water ever since we were kids. Every single droplet of water counts and wasting water, intentionally or unintentionally, will affect the entire human race. Water is not limitless as it appears; careless usage of water can result in its shortage within few decades.
While carelessness can lead to gallons of water loss every year, water main breaks is another major concern. The reasons for water main breaks are many;
- Poor welding
- Uncertified contractors
- Changes in air or water temperature
- Fitting or material problems
- Water hammer
- Vibration from road traffic
- Ground movement
According to a study by World Bank, leakages result in more than 32 billion m3 of loss in treated water globally, every year. In the case of UAE, even though one-tenth of the country’s water supply is wasted in the distribution network, it is reasonably less when compared to other GCC nations.
Unidentified leakage causes more issue than identified ones; sometimes they are often left running for years. It is not long since a Dubai family was astonished with the water bill they received; Dh54,000 was the amount. The reason was an undetected leak below their parking space.
All parts of the distribution network are prone to leaks; however, it is the joints in the pipeline and customer connection points that are most vulnerable. Pipeline maintenance and replacement are expensive; hence an ideal option would be to go for leak detection measures. Periodic infrastructure maintenance projects can tackle the problem of undetected leaks to a certain extent.
An alarm type system that remotely monitors networks and alerts in the case of leaks, is one of the widest used technologies in this arena. The sector has also been coming up with various innovative technologies. A water company in Britain is using the service of a sniffer dog to pinpoint leaks and broken pipes. The dog that has been trained to detect problem pipes, is recruited by United Utilities (UU), a firm that supplies water to around three million homes in England.
It is not just dogs that help in leak detection, even robots do the job. A robotic system was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that can identify leaks or any sort of issue by swimming through the pipes.
Implementing a technology that helps in early detection of leaks will help in preventing water loss and also save the expense involved in maintenance.