Northumbrian Water, Welsh Water trial smart water leakage detection

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GB water company Northumbrian Water is leading a trial of leakage detection devices connected to water meters as an alternative to smart meters.

The trial in partnership with Internet of Things solution provider B4T is testing its Jellyfish device, which clips to existing water meters.

These meters are typically in underground chambers and do not easily connect to 4G, 5G or WiFi. Jellyfish gets around this by connecting wirelessly over the Sigfox 0G low power technology.

Data is analysed by B4T’s software to identify and prioritise leakage. Preliminary results are reported to show 96% device reliability, even from the most challenging of underground meter boxes.

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The project is taking place in Cardiff and Tywyn in north Wales in Welsh Water’s ‘Cartref’ programme, which aims to reduce instances of leaks in customers’ pipes.

Northumbrian Water has provided funding for the project and will analyse additional benefits for its own smart water metering programme.

“This timely collaboration with Welsh Water and B4T presents an opportunity to further our understanding of new and innovative solutions in the smart metering space and proactive identification of leakage,” says Gary Adams, Head of Smart Programme at Northumbrian Water.

“Working closely together we can learn quickly and reduce the need to replicate costly large-scale trials so we can deliver value to our customers.”

Leakage is estimated to affect around 30% of English and Welsh households and leads to the loss of 24 million litres of water a day.

Northumbrian Water has recently joined the UN’s net zero push and has launched a plan to achieve net zero itself by 2027. Actions in hand include powering all its sites with renewable energies, eliminating waste by using 100% of its sewage sludge to create energy and reducing operating costs with the implementation of second life EV batteries for energy storage.