Yorkshire Water’s ‘acoustic ears’ to save millions of litres of water

Yorkshire Water will install 34,000 ‘acoustic ears’ into its underground pipe network to detect water leaks.

The firm will spend £10m to installing the sound devices to help meet a target to reduce leakage by 15% by 2020, and a further 25% by 2025.

The devices work by listening continuously to the flow of the water through a pipe. If any variants in noise occur, an alarm is set off which alerts Yorkshire Water’s data analyst team. The data experts then analyse the noise to determine if it indicates a leak in the pipe and if so a leakage technician is sent out to find the precise location and raise work to repair the pipe.

During a trial of the technology, 600 of the devices installed in the pipe network in West Yorkshire helped to identify 35 leaks in one month, helping to save approximately 86,400 litres of water from being wasted.

34,000 devices will now be installed by October this year covering 20% of its water distribution areas, bringing its total count to 40,000.

Martyn Hattersley, head of leakage operations at Yorkshire Water, said: ‘Each acoustic “ear”, or logger, is capable of identifying a leak within a 150 meters radius, which is much more accurate than current technology allows.

‘It will give us a much greater understanding and visibility of what is happening in some of the areas most prone to leaks.

‘By installing these devices we will help our Leakage Technicians save millions of litres of water being wasted which will improve our water sustainability and reduce roadwork impact on customers.’

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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