Utility Week

UTILITY Week 8th April 2016

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16 | 8TH - 14TH APRIL 2016 | UTILITY WEEK Operations & Assets Game changer /Technology/Innovation Minding the pipes Accurate and constant monitoring of key points of the network could allow water companies to stop leaks and pipe bursts before they occur. Mathew Beech reports. F or the sixth asset management plan period, AMP6, Ofwat told the water companies they must save a total of 370 million litres of water a day and cut the time customers are off supply. A large chunk of this saving can come through tackling leakage from the networks, which actually saw an increase of 0.7 per cent last year. If companies fail to meet the targets mandated by Ofwat, they face poten- tial fines of up to £500 million. So the incentive is there to tackle leakage, and the shi away from a capex and opex regime to one looking at total expenditure, or totex, has granted the water companies a new freedom to find innovative solutions for dealing with their leaky networks. This is where Syrinix comes in, and in particular its new PipeMinder product. It was developed in close co-operation with Thames Water and is designed to help water companies find and deal with poten- tial leaks before they arise. This makes the maintenance of the network more efficient, and helps to drastically cut leakage, which is key in helping water companies meet their targets and avoid hey penalties . Syrinix chief executive James Dunning says that in some areas, the rates of leakage could be slashed by half, although typically a reduction in leakage of 5-10 per cent can be expected. He says the "big wins" in tackling leak- age have already been had, and the new tar- gets and financial restrictions of AMP6 have made life difficult for water companies. Getting detailed information about how the network is performing is going to ena- ble "that step change in performance that the regulator is demanding", according to Dunning. Diagnostic tools in the water network to identify weaknesses and areas of potential stress are not new. What makes PipeMinder a game changer is its combination of hardware and soware. Previous data loggers have been a compromise: low quality data and a long battery life, or high quality data but a short battery life. PipeMinder combines both. It offers high-resolution data and has a five-year battery life, meaning it can be permanently deployed in the network. "If you imagine a valley full of mist and fog, that's similar to the view a lot of utilities have of their network," says Dunning. He says that with PipeMinder "it's like that mist and fog has been removed, so you can see everything in a lot more detail." "It's only through having that detail that you are going to have the step change in per- formance that the regulator is demanding." The hardware of PipeMinder can also switch between what data it collects and Working with Syrinix Syrinix is working with the "majority of water companies in the UK" and a host of clients in North America and Australia. The PipeMinder device is new to the market, but Thames Water is set deploy it across its network, having been closely involved with Syrinix in its development. The company has also worked closely with Crossrail to monitor critical water mains during the tunnelling of the East-West rail link. Syrinix's TrunkMinder solution captures and documents conditions in nearby water pipes and monitors the immediate effects of major construction activity. TOTAL DAILY LEAKAGE AS A PERCENTAGE OF WATER PUT INTO THE SYSTEM (WATER-ONLY COMPANIES) 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Source: CCWater Affinity Bournemouth Bristol Cambridge Dee Valley Essex & Suffolk Hartlepool Portsmouth South East South Staffs Sutton and East Surrey Wocs average Industry average 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15

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