Striving towards zero leakage

Enigma leak loggers and cloud-based solutions combat water leakage


Clean drinking water and sanitation are fundamental to human well-being. Despite this, it’s estimated that 30 per cent of the water put into pipes is lost before it reaches consumers. Here, Barbara Hathaway, Technology Leader (Leakage Solutions), and Katie Good, Vice President, Operations explain how Enigma acoustic leak loggers and advanced cloud-based monitoring and analytics solutions can identify and address water and wastewater management issues.

According to Ofwat, water firms in England and Wales lost one trillion litres via leaky pipes in 2021 — an average of 2,923.8 million litres of water a day, which The Guardian reports is equivalent to “426,875 Olympic swimming pools”.

Water losses are a global problem, both in developed and developing nations. Although the UK is often perceived as water-secure, many of its regions face water scarcity.

Another critical concern revolves around sewage discharge. It's a hot topic in the UK, and while it's easy to criticise water companies for polluting waterways, it's vital to understand the impact of climate change. More frequent wet weather events overload the system, leading to unintended discharge. This not only affects human health but also has far-reaching consequences for the environment.

So, what can be done? Fortunately, innovations in remote monitoring and control technology play a pivotal role in transforming water management.

Fixed network solutions

One answer lies in fixed network acoustic logging solutions, which have been a game-changer in the last few years. These devices are installed permanently on water networks, where they listen for signs of water escaping and indicate potential leaks.

Ovarro’s patented solutions for accurate leak detection include Enigma3M, an advanced correlating acoustic leak logger for pinpointing leaks remotely in metal pipes, and Enigma3HYQ, a variant designed using hydrophone technology which can accurately locate leaks in buried pipes, of any material, over long distances.

The benefits to customers are substantial. Thames Water, for example, strategically placed Enigma3hyQ loggers in 110 district metered areas (DMAs) to gain daily leak updates, reducing in-house data analysis and expediting detection.

It uses the loggers as part of Ovarro’s LeakNavigator end-to-end service comprising the advanced acoustic leak loggers, cloud-based analytics software and Ovarro’s own in-house leakage expertise. With 3,450 Ovarro loggers in 110 DMAs, LeakNavigator identified and categorised 788 leaks in just 20 weeks, saving 5.78 megalitres daily. The data collected from these loggers provides daily updates on potential leaks, enabling Thames Water to proactively identify and address issues.

Pollution monitoring

Another example is Anglian Water that uses Ovarro's BurstDetect, a cloud-based platform designed to detect sewer blockages and bursts. This system relies on unique algorithms which use existing data from wastewater pumping stations. BurstDetect provides real-time monitoring and alerts for potential burst events, allowing Anglian Water’s maintenance crews to respond immediately and prevent environmental damage.

This pioneering use of cloud-based technology marks a significant stride towards Anglian Water's 2025 goal of eliminating serious pollution events, showcasing the benefits of collaborative, sector-driven technological advancements.

Cloud platforms

In both cases, Ovarro's cutting-edge cloud platform solutions like LeakNavigator and BurstDetect, play a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of leak detection and pollution prevention efforts. These affordable and scalable solutions can also bridge the water management gap between developed and developing nations by better identifying unique problems and matching these to unique solutions — whether the problems are in the United Kingdom or South Africa.

Zero leakage

It is important to emphasise that there is more to these solutions than installing hardware and software, and letting it run. Human expertise is also essential. That’s why Ovarro offers support, whether through training staff or providing services to analyse data. This ensures that customers maximise the efficiency of these technologies, focusing on their core business areas.

Going forward, the water management industry must strive for a zero leakage target. There’s a long way to go to achieve this ambitious goal, and it will necessitate a collective effort from water companies, suppliers and tech experts, all leveraging advancements in the field.

To this end, Ovarro's solutions go beyond leak detection, encompassing pollution prevention through technologies like its Enigma3M, LeakNavigator and Burst Detect. These tools play a crucial role in maintaining water network integrity and averting pollution incidents.

Safeguarding clean water and preventing pollution requires a united front. Through innovative technologies and collaborative partnerships, we can transform water and wastewater management, securing a sustainable future.

To learn more about Ovarro’s water and wastewater management solutions, follow the link.