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Anglian Water adopts naval technology as it works to plunge leakages to a record low

PUBLISHED: 18:56 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 19:02 18 October 2018

Anglian Water uses noise logging devices to detect leaks in its pipe network Pic: Anglian Water

Anglian Water uses noise logging devices to detect leaks in its pipe network Pic: Anglian Water


Anglian Water is investing in smart technology to tackle leaks across it’s network.

Anglian Water workers installing noise loggersAnglian Water workers installing noise loggers

Anglian Water has enough water pipes to stretch to Sydney and back and they carry over one billion litres of water every day to its customers.

Tackling leaks on our network is important, so that our customers have less disruption, and it’s vital that we save as much water as possible.

We’re already industry leaders in tackling leaks with around half the national average compared to other water companies, However, we want to reduce leakage even further, so we’re installing new, state of the art technology which will revolutionise the way we find and fix leaks.

This ground-breaking technology, known as advanced noise loggers, is fitted inside the pipe itself, and listens for changes in sound through the flow of water to track down hard to pinpoint leaks. The new loggers are part of a £120million before 2020 investment to bring down our leakage to world-leading low levels.

The noise loggers work like a hydrophone, a type of technology which has been traditionally used by the navy for submarine navigation, underwater mapping, and communication for many years. This principle of listening for sounds through the water has been adapted specifically to work on our pipes, allowing us to hunt down and find leaks faster than ever before.

One of the toughest challenges we face is detecting leaks within plastic pipes that don’t make any noise when they leak. However, this advanced new technology means that we can now detect leaks on plastic pipe much more effectively - this is crucial as they make up 60% of our water mains.

Anglian Water workers installing noise loggersAnglian Water workers installing noise loggers

Head of leakage at Anglian Water, Sean McCarthy, said: “The noise logger is a permanent fixture within the water pipe, taking readings every night when any noise from leaks can be heard more clearly and analysed by our leakage team. Essentially we’re listening for leaks; these are our ears in the ground.

“We are fitting thousands of these across the region to reduce leakage by a further 22% before 2025. To help with this work, we are also employing an additional 200 leakage technicians to help drive down leaks.

McCarthy added: “Even though we already have the lowest level of leakage in the water industry we won’t stop until we reach world record low levels, because that’s the right thing to do. Being ahead of the curve means we’re already into the realms of tracking down really hard to find leaks, long before they’re visible to the naked eye, meaning our leakage targets are now really tough.”

Reducing levels of leakage is important to Anglian Water and ultimately means a better service for our customers. Less leakage means fewer interruptions to supply and less disruption caused. Our customers are at the heart of everything we do, which is why we’re ensuring we have resilient water supplies now, and into the future.

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