System diagrams showing four-step process for leak detection
The new method is able to find the location of the leak by systematically opening and closing valves and monitoring changing water flows. Credit: Huang et al. [2020], Figure 10
Source: Water Resources Research

According to the World Bank, water utilities worldwide lose nearly 48 billion cubic meters of treated water annually from their water distribution systems. This is a financial loss for the utilities and a waste of a precious resource. Thanks to the development of smart demand meters and other Internet of Things technologies, there are innovative solutions to the perennial problem of leakage detection.

Huang et al. [2020] show how it is possible to find pipe leaks through smart water meters and valve operations during the nighttime period. The method has been applied to a real water pipe network where it managed to isolate leads that were subsequently found to really exist. Results show that leaking pipes can be efficiently located to within 3 to 6 percent of the total pipe length. It is anticipated that the proposed method will become increasingly applicable due to rapid developments of smart water meters and remote-control valves.

Citation: Huang, Y., Zheng, F., Kapelan, Z., Savic, D., Duan, H.‐F., & Zhang, Q. [2020]. Efficient leak localization in water distribution systems using multistage optimal valve operations and smart demand metering. Water Resources Research, 56, e2020WR028285.

―Jim Hall, Editor, Water Resources Research

Text © 2020. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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