Smart technology was once again successfully deployed to pinpoint a leak on a water network valve near a busy intersection on the Eyre Highway in Port Augusta West, helping minimise interruption to customers and commuters.

The leak had been identified close to an intersection near the Joy Baluch AM Bridge, however its exact location was unknown and complicated by the presence of six different pipes in the underground area.

Teaming up with the utility’s metropolitan alliance partner, Allwater, SA Water’s Port Augusta crew combined their extensive knowledge of the local network with leak detection technology using a series of ground microphones and acoustic correlators to detect the exact location of the leak.

SA Water’s District Leader of Port Augusta, Mark Chapman, said working together with Allwater’s technicians helped ensure the safety of their crew and the community.

“The intersection is on a major freight route and countless cars, trucks and caravans pass through every day, which added to the complexity of the scenario,” Mr Chapman said.

“Given the amount of traffic and potential interruption, we didn’t want to be digging in the wrong spot – the safety of our people and the community is paramount and through our creative approach, we deployed our smart technology to pinpoint the leak and limit excavation and our time on the road.

“The audio equipment led us to an exact location and we only needed a single dig, because it was exactly where we found the leak. We felt like treasure hunters!”

Acoustic correlators are one of the smart sensors operating within SA Water’s wider smart network and listen to the sounds of the water network to record certain high-pitched frequencies, which may indicate water is escaping from a pipe or valve.

The isolation valve, which operates like a giant tap to turn parts of the water network on and off and feeds a major pipeline to Woomera, was temporarily repaired ahead of planned work.

“Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our teams, the initial repair was achieved safely and efficiently with minimal impact to the community and enabled us to plan a final solution,” Mr Chapman said.

“It also provides the opportunity to keep residents informed ahead of the work, helping them prepare for any temporary changes to their water pressure while we reduce flow through the pipe to safely complete repairs.”

Siobhan Day is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and Pump Industry magazine, and has been part of the team since early 2019. With a background in management in the non-profit sector, Siobhan has extensive experience in communications, professional writing and client management. She holds a Bachelor of Business and Communications and is currently completing a postgraduate degree.

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