From changes to Telstra accreditation and the development of Q­Hub to the novel use of satellites for water maintenance, and the increasing commercial applications of drones, it’s been a big year for utilities.

Before the new year arrives, we look back on the stories that stood out the most in 2016.

1. Changes to Telstra Accreditation: what does it mean for locators?

In the last three months, locators throughout Australia who have had to renew their Telstra accreditation have had to complete a new process required by Telstra. The new accreditation process is part of Dial Before You Dig’s Queensland Locator Certification.

2. What is a frac-out in HDD?

The utility industry is regularly required to call on an enormous and varied range of specialists; from mapping, to drilling, to wastewater treatment, to asset management, to pipe relining, to pipeline integrity, to land access, to risk management, and the list goes on. In this Ask an Expert, Charles Stockton explains the threat a frac-out poses during horizontal directional drilling.

3. The new hub of water utility innovation

With a $5 billion infrastructure network, 20,000km of water and sewerage mains and 1.4 million customers distributed across South East Queensland: you could safely say location is at the heart of Queensland Urban Utilities’ (QUU) operations. Driven by a commitment to operational and customer service excellence and innovation, QUU has taken its spatial capability to the next level with the development of the award­-winning portal, Q­Hub.

4. Drones take flight: from fad to powerhouse

In recent years, the uses for drones have dramatically expanded, as online retailers, the construction industry, wildlife rangers and the media, to name just a few, explore the ways drones can make their day-to-day operations easier, safer and more efficient. Utilities have also been quick to explore the potential applications for drones, and here we take a look at the benefits utilities around the country are seeing through the use of drones.

5. Detecting water leaks from space

Across Victoria, water loss accounts for around 10 per cent of total water usage, so being able to detect and fix leaks, as well as maintain the integrity of pipes, is vital to the success of the sector. Intelligent Water Networks (IWN) is currently investigating technologies that can detect leaks across Australia, including the use of high-tech satellites to locate underground leaks from space.

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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