Northumbrian Water achieves 37% leakage reduction across all DMAs

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The Challenge

Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL) supplies water services to just under 4.4 million people across the North East and South East of England (operating as Essex & Suffolk Water).

They have some challenging targets to reduce leakage in both of their operating regions by 2025. They have set themselves a target of reducing leakage across their network by 17.5% by 2025.

After a difficult start in 2020, NWL were struggling to meet their leakage performance commitments for the last two years. This was partly due to having a limited number of experienced technicians to cover a vast network of pipes and not having any permanent fixed leakage sensors across the majority of their network.

Having such tough targets to meet, NWL approached FIDO Tech Ltd for help due to increasing challenges around the identification, verification and successful repair of leaks. NWL asked FIDO to target an initial 15 problematic District Metering Areas (DMAs) where nightlines remained high and where traditional leakage detection had not been able to bring these DMAs back down to acceptable levels. These DMAs were an average of 18km in size with an average of 2023 properties per DMA with an average pipe material of 62% metallic and 38% plastic.

The project had to deliver speed – to reduce runtime on their largest leaks, and also accuracy to ensure optimum productivity and avoiding repeat visits.

The FIDO Direct Solution

Enter FIDO Direct – our full end-to-end service, where we use FIDO Bugs and our FIDO AI to sweep vast areas of network quickly and accurately, allowing us to target and prioritise the leaks by size using FIDO’s AI leak sizing capabilities. This service covers both network and customer side leakage (CSL).

FIDO deployed FIDO Bugs at regular intervals across the targeted DMAs. These were left overnight in order to generate a ‘leak’ or ‘no leak’ result at the given area of network using FIDO AI and, where FIDO AI confirmed a leak to be present, also provided the size of the leak.

The next step was for FIDO’s Operational Team to use FIDO Bugs at each point of interest (POI) to further pinpoint the leak location and mark up the blue line ready for NWL to promote to dig & repair. As each area was completed FIDO delivered a daily POI proforma back to NWL to allow then to raise the jobs to their workflow.

Each DMA took FIDO around 5-7 days to complete a comprehensive investigation of each POI and to deliver the key points of evidence to allow NWL to be confident in promoting the POIs to their workflow.

FIDO Direct provides all hardware, software and operational resource required to support the project. Each stage was carefully supported by FIDO to ensure full collaboration with NWL at each stage of the project.

FIDO is a million miles ahead of other companies who are offering a similar service. I admit that initially I was sceptical around the service on offer but after seeing the outputs I see a lasting relationship with FIDO.

Paul Walker, North Area Leakage Manager – Northumbrian Water

The Results

Using FIDO Direct to target the selected DMAs meant that this removed the need for any manual analysis or follow up by NWL leakage staff, allowing them to be able to free up resource to concentrate on important tasks such as breakouts.

The final results were supported by NWL’s dig and flow data from across all 15 DMAs and were as follows:

9.2

Average Reduction per DMA (m3/hr)

2.45

Total Reduction across all DMAs (Ml/d)

37

Average Reduction across all DMAs (m3/d)

110

Total Leaks Located across all DMAs

FIDO AI leak sizing allowed NWL to target and prioritise all their leaks across the selected DMAs. This allowed NWL to prioritise their large leaks and then address smaller leaks for greater efficiency.

FIDO Direct also enabled NWL to reduce the run time of their leaks and, through evidence based reporting, ensured we limited the amount of dry holes.

The FIDO AI trial in Essex and Suffolk Water has shown that the technology can help us to identify leaks efficiently on our network, but also it was able to identify intermittent private side losses that may have gone unidentified with conventional leakage control methods and acoustic logging.

Leigh White, South Area Leakage Manager – Northumbrian Water