Noisy leaks: New technologies to monitor the state of water and networks
Objective: to continue reducing leakages in the networks of water abstraction and distribution. Thanks to the technologies of the Israeli start-up Aquarius-Spectrum, the Noisy Leaks project allows us to tackle a number of key issues for operators of the integrated water service: the improvement of the entire service in terms of water quality, a reduction in network losses and increase in the number of people served by purification plants.
Another step towards the objectives that we intend to reach by 2030.
Listening to water is not simple
Leakages are currently detected by means of systematic checks in which teams of professionals carry out a comprehensive acoustic inspection of the underground pipelines using special instrumentation: geophone leak detectors, probes able to detect the sound generated by water.
Despite the excellent and increasingly improved results, this method has its limits: it is time-consuming; it is susceptible to human error or disturbance from other sound sources; it requires authorization to occupy public areas and cannot be carried out in bad weather.
Continuous monitoring = Better water quality
Which technology makes it possible to improve monitoring? The answer comes from a highly innovative Israeli start-up: Aquarius-Spectrum, a leader in cloud technological solutions for the monitoring of municipal water distribution networks and the detection of underground leakages from their early stages. Thanks to a network of both fixed and mobile acoustic sensors, the Noisy Leaks technology can monitor an entire water distribution network and provide complete and updated GIS readings for each breakage point, thus ensuring a high level of functioning and maintenance throughout the water network.
By implementing the Aquarius-Spectrum solution, we are transforming spot-check campaigns carried out by personnel into a continuous, wide-scale, non-invasive monitoring mechanism that can be rapidly installed and is consultable through a digital platform.
A concrete example: implementation in Brescia’s old town
A fixed-point sound detection system combined with a processing and visualization platform for water leakages. Noisy Leaks is a project that offers numerous advantages, among which a reduction in water losses and the optimization of times and costs.
We trialled the potentialities of Noisy Leaks by installing the technology on 60 kilometres of water network in the centrally located old town of Brescia. Reduction of geophone inspection campaigns, emergency repairs and test digs: in just seven days from the detection of the first anomaly, Noisy Leaks demonstrated an efficiency of 80% in locating hidden water leakages, compared to an average life for a leakage that can exceed 100 days.
Thanks to the effectiveness of the project, the technology has already been implemented on 60 kilometres of water network in Brescia’s old town. In 2022, the project was extended to other parts of Brescia, enabling a forecast saving of over 8 million cubic metres of drinking water and about 2.3 tonnes of CO2 in 10 years.
The water cycle of tomorrow, today
Within the ambit of the Noisy Leaks project, the adoption of the Aquarius-Spectrum solution will enable A2A to further improve the entire service in terms of the quality of water distributed, a reduction in network leakages and an increase in the number of people served by water purification plants.