The Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has partnered with 17 Victorian water corporations and VicWater to trial a technology used to look for water on other planets to see if it can be applied to water main leak detection.

The Victorian Government is supporting the trial though the Intelligent Water Networks Program (IWN).

The technology uses satellite imagery taken 650km above the Earth to detect drinking water in the ground.

Several images are taken over a few weeks, and analysed to identify the spectral ‘signature’ of drinking water.

The imagery is then laid over GIS maps of pipe networks to pinpoint potentially leaking pipes.

If an area identified on the satellite image as containing drinking water matches up with the pipe network map, field crews can then go in to check for a leak.

The pilot project involves Western Water, City West Water and Yarra Valley Water and covers a geographical area of more than 3,000㎢.

Victorian Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville, said “The water industry estimates up to 160million litres of drinking water is lost each day in Victoria to leaks, so finding better ways to detect and fix leaks is critical.”

“Investing in innovation in this area has the potential to save millions of litres of precious drinking water every day, benefiting the whole community.”

After two months of compiling satellite imagery, field validation of leak sites began in February 2016.

Intelligent Water Networks Chair, Neil Brennan, said, “We are hoping to have a preliminary report in March that will tell us how this technology has performed in the trial so far.”

“If it meets the pilot objectives, it could have widespread benefits for the water industry and our customers.”

Jessica Dickers is an experienced journalist, editor and content creator who is currently the Editor of Utility’s sister publication, Infrastructure. With a strong writing background, Jessica has experience in journalism, editing, print production, content marketing, event program creation, PR and editorial management. Her favourite part of her role as editor is collaborating with the sector to put together the best industry-leading content for the audience.

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