Yorkshire Water is to use space satellites to help identify underground water leaks from its pipe network in Halifax.
In partnership with Israeli company, Utilis, which is a world leader in satellite water leakage detection, Yorkshire water is testing out the technology on its pipes in Halifax and Keighley.
Utilis is represented in the UK by Suez Advanced Solutions. Together they normally use the technology to look for water on other planets including Mars.
The Yorkshire trial identified 44 underground pipe leaks, which were then fixed by Yorkshire Water’s response team. The firm estimated this helped save 330,000 litres of water a day escaping from its network.
Eddy Segal, vice-president of sales at Utilis, said the technology uses a Japanese satellite that carries a microwave radar, capable of penetrating into the ground to the level of the water pipes.
Jason Griffin, Yorkshire Water’s leakage team leader in West Yorkshire, said: “Most leaks from our pipes do not come to the surface and so are hard to identify. However, this satellite was able to detect underground water leaks from our pipes within a 100m radius, which makes it much easier for our leakage inspectors to then pinpoint and repair.”
Yorkshire Water is also testing the use of drones, which have been used to conduct an aerial topographical survey of 30km of pipework stretching from York to Sheffield, which is part of a new “predict and prevent” initiative.
Additionally, the company has installed 15,000 acoustic ears into its pipe network, capable of listening to the noise water makes to help data scientists identify unusual sound patterns, which are often a sign of leaks.
As part of a multi-million pound drive to improve the service it offers, the firm has also committed to hire 50 new leakage inspectors.
Last month, another water company Severn Trent also trialled leakage detection using satellites.