Addressing water leaks has become a major concern for the water boards and is keeping them always on the brink of losing their feet completely considering the demand for water.
Water leaks costs consumers as well as utilities a lot of money which has forced the industries to look for a solution that can minimise the loss. The sooner the leakage is detected, the better it is for the utility.
Looking at water loss, is a problem that can be prevented if detected early which can be fixed instantly.
But, the challenge with detection is that only bigger leaks get detected mostly after the pipe bursts.
For that to address, we have a solution today as satellites can detect leaks as small as 0.5 l/min.
Being the most precise, they are the fastest. They do not require any manual labour nor anyone on the field as it uses microwaves echography.
Microwaves are electromagnetic radiation with the wavelengths between 1 m and 1 mm and frequencies between 300 MHz (100 cm) and 300 GHz (0.1 cm).
Specifically, microwaves are chosen because they do not diffract on hills, they do to reflect from the ionosphere and, most importantly, they differentiate clean treated water from other kinds (dirty water, saltwater.)
Microwaves are absorbed by water and metal and do not reflect from it, so it is easy to detect a leak. In other words, the dielectric constant of pure water makes it easy to detect a leak.
With the increase of the dielectric constant, the electric flux density will increase which makes the detection easy.
As the water has high dielectric permittivity, which enables the detection and measurement of water in soil.
The exact wavelength of microwaves from the satellites is, therefore, set based on the very specific dielectric constant of pure water, in addition to the ability of the microwave with a specific wavelength to penetrate the ground.
Moreover, the frequency has effect and needs to be considered since the microwaves on different frequencies are differently absorbed by vapour in the atmosphere.
The images collected by satellites are overlaid on GIS systems and processed. This shows a clear image of water leaks and the position of pipelines in the infrastructure.
As of now, what we see today is that, most of the utilities or the water boards had a tough time understanding the importance of technology and how it can help in fixing the leaks on time to save a lot money and water before it’s too late.