Leakage was a key area in Ofwat’s final methodology for the PR19 price review, produced this morning (13 December). It outlines a 15% reduction in leakage (or upper quartile performance), as well as a reduction in bills of £15-£25 per property. This means companies will need to deliver more for less. Just last week at Future Water Networks 2017, Joe Sanders presented Artesia’s ideas to help water companies achieve these challenging targets. The focus of the conference was “Shining the Light on the Possible” and how techniques from other industries could be used to help in the water industry.
Joe presented how data that water companies have collected for decades could be looked at in different ways to produce valuable insights into how to manage leakage differently to improve performance and increase efficiency.
One of the proposed methods, which Artesia has already piloted with a major water company is Optimised Leakage Targeting. This approach draws on chemical analysis industry to target District Metered Areas (DMAs) for the most cost effective leakage control strategy based on individual leak growth profiles. The pilot study demonstrated this could deliver a leakage reduction of 10%, without increasing the number of repairs or increasing detection staff. This reduction is achieved by better understanding each individual DMA and from this better prioritising which DMAs should be investigated first.
Fast logging of DMAs to determine the household night use is something else that Artesia has been helping water companies with for five years, giving us a wealth of experience in this area. Understanding night use is a key part of leakage targeting; when done effectively it can allow companies to distinguish between leakage and legitimate use to ensure effective targeting of operational staff. Companies which understand patterns of usage can ensure operatives know they are looking for leakage and not for usage.
Finally, eVader is Artesia’s new system for automatically detecting abnormal events that occur in water networks, with automatic reporting back to the companies. It uses methods derived from the pharmaceutical industry to analyse time series data while removing seasonal variations in the data, to reduce the number of false positives. It currently has two modules, an event module which identifies burst related events and a leakage module which identifies leaks through analysis of the flow at night. These two modules help to identify leaks more quickly and also can reduce supply interruptions. This means that water companies can get to areas of leakage faster and hence reduce the runtime of leaks.
These tools mean that the leakage reduction targets identified by Ofwat are achievable with the reduction in costs that they have outlined.
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