• Satellite leak detection services for 12,000km of water pipes in Belgium

Water/Wastewater

Satellite leak detection services for 12,000km of water pipes in Belgium

Mar 01 2021

SUEZ and technology partner, Utilis Corp, have been appointed to supply satellite leak detection services and onsite leak detection support to FARYS cvba, one of the major drinking water suppliers in Flanders, for their drinking water distribution network across Belgium. The contract was signed on November 2020 and work commences in March 2021.

The decision sees SUEZ and Utilis providing an innovative way for FARYS to identify water leaks. Selecting a remote sensing approach will enhance the performance of FARYS’ field technicians and help them achieve their ambitious goals. One of the key benefits is that there will be no customer disruption and, importantly, hidden leaks will be located quicker with less water lost, providing increased resilience in the network and benefits to the environment

Worth circa €1.8 million over a three-year period, the contract will aim at providing the position of potential leaks from all over the FARYS area, some 12,000km of distribution and trunk mains. 

It will draw on Utilis’ innovative satellite leak detection technology that has been adapted from technology used to search for water on other planets. The potential leak locations are traced from a Radar attached to a satellite orbiting over 600km above the earth. The radar sensors penetrate the earth and look for the unique signature of underground drinking water to show where leaks could be. As part of the package, Utilis provides leak information on an easy-to-use management dashboard as well as user-friendly GIS reports sent to the ground technicians via mobile app. 

This form of remote leak detection is proven to be a smart investment. It will help to reduce the search area or highlight areas of interest with high probability of leak. As project lead, SUEZ will work with the FARYS team to tailor the delivery timescales of leakage reports to ensure availability and best use of FARYS’ leak detection teams to investigate the potential leaks. SUEZ will also provide training to FARYS teams on the use of the bespoke software applications and provide additional onsite leak detection support to augment the inhouse teams and assist with the investigation of potential leaks.

Since conception in 2016, Utilis have surveyed over 250,000 KM of water pipes, in 42 countries and worked with over 170 utilities, including a successful trial for FARYS in 2019. SUEZ have supported Utilis in the UK since 2016 serving almost all major UK Water Utilities. This project extends this successful collaboration beyond the UK for the first time. 

Nick Haskins, Business Development Manager at SUEZ Smart & Environmental Solutions said; “We are delighted to have been awarded this new contract and very much look forward to working together. This contract reflects the needs of our changing world, providing a smart and environmental solution to the challenge of finding leaks. It requires less resource, much lower public disruption and saves water.”

Eddy Segal, Vice President of Utilis, is delighted to support FARYS with this project; “Hidden leaks can be located from Space! With a project of this nature we need to work closely with the FARYS project leader and operational managers. Our approach is collaborative, working towards shared objectives facilitated by regular, proactive and transparent communication.” 

Christophe D’Haese, Senior Product Manager, General Management at FARYS, commented; “A continuous reduction of the non revenue water (NRW) is a strategic goal at FARYS and we have already gone a long way in our active district metered area (DMA) monitoring and early warning capabilities. All the same we keep looking for ways to enhance our operations and efficiency in this respect. Based on the promising results of the proof of concept we ran with Utilis in 2019, we decided to incorporate satellite leak detection technology in our overall approach to NRW. In this we particularly aim to optimize the deployment and efficiency of our leak detection teams in the field.” 


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