World : No more leaky pipes? This AI system can detect the smallest water leakages

The researchers are also working on ways to pinpoint the location of leaks, which would allow local city municipalities to identify, prioritize and carry out repairs

ostly water losses in municipal water systems could be significantly reduced using sensors and new artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Developed by researchers at the University of Waterloo in collaboration with industry partners, the technology has the potential to detect even small leaks in pipes.

How the AI detects water leakage

The system combines signal processing techniques and AI software to identify telltale signs of leaks carried via sound in water pipes.

The acoustic signatures are recorded by hydrophone sensors that can be easily and inexpensively installed in existing fire hydrants without excavation or taking them out of service.

The sensor technology works by pre-processing acoustic data using advanced signal processing techniques to highlight components associated with leaks.

How the AI will help cities

"This would allow cities to use their resources for maintenance and repairs much more effectively," said lead researcher Roya Cody, a civil engineering PhD candidate at Waterloo.

"They could be more proactive as opposed to reactive," he added.

Water wastage through leakages

Municipal water systems in American countries lose an average of over 13 per cent of their clean water between treatment and delivery due to leaks, bursts and other issues.

Countries with older infrastructure have even higher loss rates.

Smart Grid Bulletin July 2019

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