A clever idea by engineer and mother-of-three, Sriya Fernando, is set to save water and Queensland Urban Utilities more than $1 million.

Queensland Urban Utilities Service Delivery Leader, Ms Fernando, has developed a new plastic pit to protect vital flow meters which help detect underground leaks in the water network.

At a cost of $25,000 each, the custom-designed plastic pits are much cheaper and easier to install than the currently used concrete pits, which cost up to $110,000 each.

“The plastic pits have also been designed to be water resistant so the electronic components in the flow meters will be better protected from the weather,” she said.

“It is important that the flow meters are in good working order because they are part of our TaKaDu leak monitoring system which allows us to detect concealed underground leaks.”

“They’re like the eyes of our water network.”

Queensland Urban Utilities spokesperson, Michelle Cull, said the first plastic pit has been installed in Mayfield Road, Moorooka, and will be trialled for three months.

“If successful, another 25 will be installed across Brisbane, delivering a cost saving of $1.12 million,” she said.

The pits, which are approximately 1.5m x 0.9m in size, have been built by Brisbane manufacturer BVCI, which specialises in electrical and communication pits.

The idea is one of 35 innovations approved for development by Queensland Urban Utilities’ iQ innovation group since it was established 10 months ago.

“All of these innovations are expected to result in a total operational savings of $4.5 million across the organisation,” Ms Cull said.

“The aim of our iQ group is to ensure clever ideas like Sriya’s can become a reality.”

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