UK WATER INDUSTRY RESEARCH

My UKWIR

Big question

How will we achieve zero leakage in a sustainable way by 2050?

Achieving the target of zero leakage is extremely ambitious, one that cannot be achieved with existing processes, techniques and equipment, even if used in much greater quantities than at present. If zero leakage is ever to be a realistic target, and one that can be achieved sustainably, we will need a large amount of research and development in this area. This will need to cover many different aspects of leakage and leakage management. The timescale for achieving this target is 2050, which means that potentially almost anything is possible, and the research must not be constrained by the limitations of existing methods and equipment.

To help us answer this question we need to develop a strategic research programme to map out the research and development projects.

Before we commenced on a new research programme we engaged with universities and consultants to investigate the current state of knowledge around this Big Question. We wanted to understand what research had been done, what was currently progressing, and where the gaps were.

This review was undertaken in 5 areas, with a separate report for each area.

  1. Basic mechanisms of bursts and leakage
  2. Leak detection and location methods 
  3. Leak repair-methods 
  4. Laying leak-free new networks 
  5. Water accounting and quantification 

Once we understood our research needs, we produced a route map – this is a plan as to how we will answer our Big Question.

This is described below, and you can download the whole thing as a PDF below. It is important to know that the route map may change as the programme develops.

RESEARCH Outcomes








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Projects


 

Achieving zero leakage by 2050: Basic mechanisms of bursts and leakage

Project Status - Project submitted as Complete


 

Achieving zero leakage by 2050: Water accounting and quantification methods

Project Status - Project submitted as Complete


 

BQ Achieving zero leakage by 2050: Project 1 - Use of smart meters and smart networks for leakage management

Project Status - Project Commenced

Category - Leakage

Modern technology has made it possible to collect much greater quantities of data, and at higher resolution. Leakage analysis methods and leak detection technology have both made many advances in recent years, but data collection and manipulation processes have hardly changed. The basic principle of measuring minimum night flow into a DMA, and then subtracting estimates of household and non-household night use to give leakage, remains unchanged in the past 30 years.

However the recent growth in smart networks, and particularly the use of smart meters for revenue purposes, could offer many new opportunities for better leakage management. It is essential that these opportunities and benefits are identified now, so that water companies can take them into account when making their choices of which smart technologies to invest in.


Projects coming soon.

 

Achieving zero leakage by 2050: Laying leak free new networks

Project Status - Project submitted as Complete


 

Achieving zero leakage by 2050: Project 2 - Incidence and causes of repeat bursts at old repairs

Project Status - Project Commenced

Category - Leakage

Distribution Maintenance staff at water companies know well that many leaks and bursts, once excavated, prove to be at the location of a previous repair, and occur as a result of a failure of the old repair. However it is not known how much data is collected on this, and there is no quantitative evidence of the magnitude or significance of this problem at national level. Nor has there been any study of the reasons for the failures, i.e. whether they are due to deterioration of the clamp or other repair materials over time, or whether they are caused by faulty workmanship at the time of the initial repair.

Many companies do record the types of failure within their records of mains and service bursts. However these descriptions are often very brief (e.g. “pin-hole”), and the fact that the failure was at a previous repair may not be recorded. This project will initially assess the availability of suitable data, in collaboration with participating water companies. The UKWIR National Mains Failure Database may also be a valuable source of data.


Projects coming soon.

 

Achieving zero leakage by 2050: Laying leak free new networks

Project Status - Project submitted as Complete



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