Water Corporation has announced it will use high-tech drones to inspect more than 160km of pipelines, following a successful trial of new technology.

The corporation will survey pipelines in the Goldfields and Agricultural Region Water Supply Scheme (GAWS), which supplies water to more than 100,000 customers, farms, mines and other enterprises.

WA Water Minister Mia Davies said surveys conducted by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) are a more efficient, integrated and safer way to inspect the condition of pipes rather than doing it by foot.

“Given the scheme is made up of more than 9,000km of pipeline, this is the perfect region to take advantage of this technology,” Ms Davies said.

“An operator on the ground will fly the UAV at a height of 60m, taking high-resolution photos of the pipelines directly below and will upload the images into the corporation’s mapping system.

“The images will be examined for signs of wear and tear and the corporation will carry out preventative maintenance, as part of the Farmlands water supply project.”

The UAV started surveying pipelines on 12 April 2016 between Southern Cross and Koolyanobbing, and will cover 19 different sections of pipeline across the Goldfields and Wheatbelt, finishing near Grass Valley.

Most of the aerial surveillance will be carried out across isolated paddocks and along road reserves, however the corporation has said it will notify residents beforehand if they live close to the inspection area.

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