Saving water often comes up in conversation as something the general public should take responsibility for. In reality, however, there is a much bigger problem to address – the loss of non-revenue water. It’s estimated that between 20 and 50 percent of water is lost to underground pipeline leaks in the USA alone. And every two minutes pipeline breaks cause an estimated six billion gallons of treated water to be lost each day, according to Infrastructure Report Card’s 2021 Drinking Water whitepaper. That’s enough to fill more than 9,000 swimming pools. Even more daunting is the fact that the rate of main breaks has increased by 27 percent in the last six years, according to a study conducted by Utah State University in 2018. Things are no better in Europe, either. In Italy for example, non-revenue water losses are thought to be around 40 percent – costing four billion euros annually.
How are pipelines monitored effectively to reduce water loss?
For the work on water loss to make an impact, we need to start asking questions such as how are pipelines monitored? And we must look at innovative ways to reduce leaks quickly and cost-effectively, which helps people, the planet and profitability of networks like yours. Until recently, traditional methods have involved ‘boots on the ground’, with engineers searching for and then fixing leaks. But it’s not working. Leaks are causing devastating water losses, not to mention disruption to communities. And responding to pipeline failures after they occur is depleting valuable financial resources that you could spend on more efficient, well-planned upgrades ahead of time.
One solution to more proactive pipeline risk management – and therefore reduced costs – is better technology. As the 2021 Infrastructure Report Card puts it: “Utilities networks can increase resilience by integrating smart water technologies such as machine learning software and real time data sensors into drinking water infrastructure systems.” But how does this work in practice? How are pipelines monitored effectively when they are buried underground? And how can you as a network owner obtain new insights that help you prioritize your teams and financial resources and cut back the amount you spend following failures? The answer is Geospatial AI, but rather than simply reducing leaks, it’s proving critical in the efforts to prevent them altogether.
Geospatial AI and pipeline risk management
Geospatial AI harnesses earth observation science, incorporating satellite data, to enable visibility of an entire network, no matter how large, from the comfort of your desk. Topographical and vegetation information is gathered from space, merged with historical data on your network and advanced algorithms are put in place to predict where pipeline failure is most likely to occur. The result is a map of visual flags showing patterns and trends that help you make smarter business decisions and improve efficiency.
The technology has significantly reduced reactive repairs and water losses while also helping to reduce operational costs for Rezatec’s client, Utilities Kingston. Following a six-month project, our Geospatial AI platform demonstrated that 64 percent of water leaks occurred in just 20 percent of the network. This enabled the model to identify the zones within the network at the highest risk of failure and has allowed the water company to prioritize inspections and deploy its maintenance teams efficiently.
Geospatial AI for reducing operational costs
This explains how satellite data combined with advanced AI algorithms could help you identify leaks and reduce water losses, but there is still one crucial question: How are pipelines monitored from space able to create vital cost savings for your business? Rather than being solely about leak detection, advances in Geospatial AI use a combination of current and historical data to build a unique picture of your entire network and enable smarter business decisions. New insights are a game changer when it comes to every part of a pipeline network organization – from cost savings to planning maintenance and upgrades years in advance. Another significant benefit in addition to dialing up insights is the frequency of data. Manual inspections take time. It can be weeks or sometimes months before engineers can file reports to determine the fate of a particular area in your network. And although this information is still vital to prevent a pipeline break, Geospatial AI enables regularly refreshed information. For you this enables vastly improved productivity, more targeted repairs and upgrades, and next-level business efficiency.
If you’ve been wondering how pipelines are monitored using Geospatial AI, book a FREE demo of Rezatec’s Geospatial AI technology today and discover how our solutions could help you improve efficiency and keep communities safe.