Anglian Water first water company in UK to trial new leakage tech in live water mains

22 September 2021


Anglian Water has become the first UK water company to trial new technology to find and measure leaks in live water mains as part of a new partnership Electro Scan.


The ground-breaking technology uses multi-sensor,  low voltage conductivity and acoustic technology to listen for and find leaks in water pipes, as well as high-resolution closed-circuit television (CCTV), to navigate within the pipe itself to allow a thorough assessment of its condition.


Uniquely, this work can be undertaken in live water mains, meaning there is no interruption to customer supply.


The sensors work by measuring the variation of electricity passing through the pipe wall. Electricity does not pass through non-metallic  pipe walls but will pass through a defect or leak. The bigger the defect the larger the electricity flow. The technology can detect any holes the pipe as small as a centimetre in diameter as well as estimating how much water is lost in litres per second, meaning the water company can then prioritise repairs accordingly. Anglian Water is now looking at how it can be applied across its region.


James Hargrave Regional Operational Leakage Manager said:

“We are the first water company to use this type of pipe condition assessment and leak detection tool in live water mains in the UK – it’s another exciting step forward in our war against leakage.


“By being able to measure the amount of water lost, and the general condition of the main we can make the best decision on how to undertake the necessary repair, minimising any interruption to customer supply, local disruption and continuing our pledge to reduce leakage for the long term”


Anglian Water originally sponsored Electro Scan’s recent entry into the Future Water Association Water Dragons event -  a water industry version of the TV hit Dragons Den –  the technology then went on to win the event.


In 2017, Anglian Water became the first water company to use thermal imaging drones to pinpoint hard to find leaks. Since then the company has continued to push the boundaries of technology to wage a war on leakage, by using satellite imagery, naval hydrophones and fibre optic technology to find and fix leaks. Between 2020-2025, the company will be investing over £70m in reducing leakage, with the aim of reaching world-leading low levels.”


James continued: “We already have the lowest level of leakage in the water industry at half the national average. But being ahead of the curve means we’re now 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.


“We’re looking into every avenue of engineering available to us to continually be better, and technology like this will revolutionise our ability to meet those tough targets.