Water leakage took centre stage at a recent meeting of the Sensors for Water Interest Group (SWIG) which took place at NEL in East Kilbride. The meeting highlighted the important role that sensors, measurement systems and data analytics play in managing and reducing leakage. Attendees were also able to see a project that is being undertaken at NEL to measure the accuracy of water meters used in association with large diameter pipes.
“Leakage is a major concern in the water industry and for water users,” says Consultant Engineer, Brendan Robson. “Recent deregulation in the industry in England has further heightened interest in the issue with new water retailers pressing the wholesalers to fix leaks faster. Ofwat are also challenging water wholesalers to reduce outages and leakage as part of long term business plans – with significant fines for missing leakage targets.”
The meeting brought together representatives from water companies, researchers and the supply chain. As NEL’s contribution, Brendan discussed developments in Network Monitoring and Leakage Identification. He emphasised the importance of Data Validation & Reconciliation (DVR) techniques and more advanced tools such as Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). He also highlighted the case of Singapore as a country that has seen substantial benefits from its investment in the latest leak detection sensors.
As part of the event, delegates were given a tour of NEL’s facilities. Of particular interest was a project being undertaken for Evaluation International (EI). EI is a technology club for large-scale users of measurement and control instruments. Members include Severn Trent, EDF Energy and BAE Systems.
In 2016, Severn Trent Water proposed an EI project to measure the accuracy of water meters used in association with large diameter pipes (up to 500mm in diameter). This project is now underway and SWIG attendees saw the flow test rig under construction.
SWIG promotes the dissemination of information on sensor developments and fosters collaboration through targeted workshops. It provides a forum for manufacturers, end users and researchers in the sensor community to test new ideas, exchange views and network.