How Geospatial AI can reduce pipeline network failure | Rezatec

Saving water in severe heat – How Geospatial AI can reduce pipeline network failure


Press release |  September 2022

At Rezatec, we are used to reporting on the amount of water lost from pipeline networks. In webinars, media articles and case studies, we frequently highlight the number of swimming pools that could be filled as a result of pipeline breaks in the US (approximately 9,000 a day). Now, after a number of severe weather events, and as the world wakes up to the finite natural resources we have at our disposal, staggering statistics on water loss are coming to the fore.  

Much of Europe and the UK, home to the Rezatec HQ, is in the midst of a major heatwave. For weeks, temperatures have risen to some of the highest recorded in half a century. Draughts are being declared, garden hose pipes banned and wildfires raging. This is enough to raise questions about the rising temperatures across our planet and sustainable practices, but it has also alerted mainstream media to one major side effect.  

In an article published on Wednesday 10 August, 2022, The Times highlighted dramatic statistics on leaks from pipeline networks and vast amounts of wasted water. According to the article, 3.2 billion litres leak from the UK’s water supply each day. That’s 23% of the total supply and enough to deliver water to 22.8 million residents – every single day. The issue is not isolated to the UK, however. The US Infrastructure Report Card’s 2021 Drinking Water Report claims there is a mains network failure every two minutes in America, which equates to approximately six billion gallons of water lost every day.  

While the finger is usually pointed directly at the networks when breaks occur and water supply is disrupted, utility companies face their own set of challenges. Heat puts added pressure on pipelines, many of which are already ageing, as the ground dries and causes them to degrade. Demand from end users is now on the rise, as they use more water in hotter climates. And fire services are also using greater volumes to tackle a growing number of fire events. So is there an alternative when it comes to maintaining pipelines? How can you prevent water losses when dealing with an already-deteriorating infrastructure? And how can you get ahead of leaks and avoid wasting precious water supplies when your assets are buried underground? The answer is Geospatial AI – combining data gathered via satellite and advanced AI to spot potential water leaks before they happen.  

While pipeline network engineers and leaders may never be able to completely avoid pipeline failure, they can take steps to identify, and act upon, pipeline risk. Using technology and advanced AI algorithms, they can take a more proactive approach to upgrades,  reduce reliance on repairs and save the world’s resources while also maximizing value. Imagine having visibility of the top 20% of at-risk zones in your pipeline network, no matter how vast it might be. Imagine having access to new insights that show you the likelihood of failure in a particular area so that you can deploy resources to the right place at the right time, reducing your spend on unnecessary replacements. And imagine how much water could be saved if you could reduce reactive repairs and focus on upgrades where they are needed. 

At Rezatec, our Pipeline Risk product is designed to detect water loss across vast networks, before it happens. But it doesn’t stop there. The solution helps pipeline network managers and engineers to zone in on the top at-risk zones in a network, helping to overhaul their upgrades programs. Our platform does this by combining satellite imagery and advanced AI algorithms to spot the signs of leaks. It utilizes information from your own network, such as  pipeline age, material, and pressure and combining this with satellite-based insights like ground movement and vegetation growth, which is a signal that a leak may be occurring. When you combine this with historical failure data, advanced AI powered analytics can determine the likelihood and consequence of failure across your network, no matter how vast it might be. This means you gain more accurate, up to date information on the condition of your pipeline network remotely and can work to improve it before leaks and breaks take place. The end result for our customers around the world is greater efficiency, reduced costs, less disruption for end users and the conservation of our planet’s precious water supplies.  

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