In a world-first initiative, Veolia has developed SkyCam satellite image analysis technology to proactively monitor and prevent blockages in Australia’s underground sewer networks. 

Using API services developed by UK-based Digital Content Analysis Technology (D-CAT), Veolia built an algorithm to preempt one of the nation’s most common causes of sewer blockages: tree roots. 

The sophisticated satellite technology works by using image analysis to track the growth of vegetation surrounding underground water networks. 

When trees begin to grow or show signs of additional nutrients, the algorithm alerts Veolia of a likely broken underground sewer network pipe, where sewage access could be aiding trees’ growth. 

Veolia is then able to swiftly investigate and repair any broken underground pipes, eliminating the likely scenario of root blockages occurring if left unattended. 

Richard Kirkman, Veolia’s Chief Executive Officer, said the initiative is a game changer for underground network service maintenance that will significantly reduce costly network disruptions. 

“Issues in the underground water network system had typically only been detectable when blockages had already occurred. Now, we can proactively identify high-risk locations for potential network disruptions and prevent them before they take place,”  Mr Kirkman said

“This technology will save councils and taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair costs, which can now be spent in other areas of need.”

 Mr Kirkman said the technology will open new opportunities for water management. 

“The use of satellite-based technologies does not stop at the detection of blockages. We’ve also developed a range of applications to monitor soil movement, keep a watchful eye on landslide prevention, detect bushfire prone zones and measure leaking water from water mains. 

“This world-first approach will revolutionise the water sector, so that we can better protect supply, prevent climate issues and drive ecological transformation, by preventing unnecessary water loss before it occurs,”  Mr Kirkman said.

Veolia and D-CAT have now entered into a mutually exclusive Teaming Agreement with the intent to extend the technology across Veolia’s global client base.

Phil McLachlan, D-CAT’s Chief Executive Officer, said that together the companies will develop new services within water management, bringing new opportunities to preserve the planet. 

“D-CAT’s exclusive teaming with Veolia is a definitive step in the delivery of our proven satellite-derived monitoring, reporting and verification services across the water industry, worldwide,” Mr McLachlan said

“We are delighted and privileged to be collaborating with the global leader in the water industry. 

“Over the coming years, D-CAT looks forward to maximising the potential of our collaboration to the sustainable benefit of Veolia and its water utility clients globally.”. 

The Teaming Agreement will run for an initial period of three years. 

Starting construction

As part of the teaming agreement Veolia and D-CAT will construct cutting edge solutions for the water market, starting with eight identified use cases: 

  • Blockage detection in sewer networks.
  • Measurement of soil movement at dams to identify soil movement over a period of several weeks to several years.
  • Bathymetry in dams and reservoirs to determine their depth profile.
  • Monitoring of vegetation growth for landslide prevention.
  • Monitoring of vegetation for bushfire prevention.
  • Leak detection from water trunk mains.
  • Measurement of soil movement in pipeline easements.
  • Algal bloom management/monitoring.

About Veolia

Veolia Veolia Group aims to become the benchmark company for ecological transformation. Present on five continents with nearly 220,000 employees, the Group designs and deploys useful, practical solutions for the management of water, waste and energy that are contributing to a radical turnaround of the current situation. 

Through its three complementary activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, to preserve available resources and to renew them. In 2021, the Veolia Group provided 79 million inhabitants with drinking water and 61 million with sanitation, produced nearly 48 million megawatt hours of energy and recovered 48 million tonnes of waste. 

Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE) achieved consolidated revenue of 28.508 billion euros in 2021. 

About D-CAT

D-CAT aims to support a sustainable world with effective and affordable insights from Space. They are a specialist data analytics and software services company assisting businesses worldwide by providing scalable and highly differentiated monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) data services derived from satellite remote sensing data. 

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by Veolia. For further information, please visit or email

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