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Detecting Leaks, Reducing Water Loss

Water networks are complex systems, and leaky pipes can cost municipalities and cities a lot of money.

To prevent this, Siemens has developed a software solution that not only finds leaks in water pipelines; it also continuously monitors the water lines. This makes it possible to limit water losses and to greatly reduce costs that are primarily generated by maintenance and repair measures.

In a big city like Berlin, residents consume approximately 585,000 cubic meters of drinking water every day. Holes in the pipelines can quickly result in high costs, so the pipes have to be continually monitored. It’s a difficult job, though, because water networks often are made up of many sections that branch off repeatedly in complex arrangements.

The new process from Siemens uses a sophisticated positioning and monitoring system that relies on ultrasound technology to measure the flow of the drinking water. To apply the system, measurement zones, or “district metering areas,” are set up in which the incoming and outgoing flows are recorded. If the water consumption in a zone is unusually high, that indicates there is a leak somewhere.

The measurements are taken between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., when the flow is fairly low and regular. The measurement values are sent to the computer system of the user in question and evaluated. Statistical methods and a model-based, network-wide mass balance make it possible to detect leaks and to determine where they are located in the individual zones.

After these measures have been carried out, the suspected leaks are confirmed by means of temporarily installed acoustic sensors and finally located within meters with the help of correlators, which take into account the difference in the time it takes for the leak sounds to reach the two measurement points.

SIWA LeakControl was developed by Siemens Industry Solutions in cooperation with Siemens Corporate Technology. The positioning and monitoring system ensures a more efficient water supply and helps to prevent damages.

Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens InnovationNews
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