Drones Used For Water Leak Detection In Somerset

Supplier Wessex Water has revealed that it is now using a fleet of drones fitted with thermal imaging cameras to help it find leaky pipes across its network in Somerset.


According to the Burnham & Highbridge Weekly News, the company’s drone pilots underwent intensive training to make sure they comply with public safety and private protection regulations for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. The drones also provide a mapping function, to allow for detailed before and after shots of the pipes.


Corinne Riley, drone pilot and team leader, explained that the drones are taken out at sunrise because “it’s easier to spot an underground leak when the ground is at its coldest”.


“A leak is normally at a higher temperature, which means it will show up as a warm coloured patch on the thermal imaging camera,” she went on to say.


In the last ten years, the supplier has invested nearly £100 million in renewing supply pipes in the local area and has also launched a Doorstep Leak Reward scheme, where metered customers who report leaks on their private supply pipes can earn themselves a £30 reward and a free repair service.


Director of water supply with the company Ashlea Lane made further comments, saying that the firm is always keen to make improvements to the way it operates and drone use means it can save energy, time and effort, while working more efficiently.


Drones aren’t the only resource that suppliers are turning to in order to help them find leaks these days, however. For example, Severn Trent recently launched a video calling service to help improve water leak detection, allowing people to speak to engineers when reporting issues. Smartphones can be used to interact with a virtual team using the video service, a move that will cut response times because there will be no need for an initial site visit.


This same supplier is also using a flexible little robot to help it find leaks, with the device filling the pipes and travelling along with the flow of water, feeding data back on its position and the leaks it discovers as it goes.


Dogs can also be used to great effect when it comes to spotting leaks and suppliers are now making excellent use of man’s best friend in this regard. Northumbrian Water, for example, now employs three-year-old springer spaniel Denzel to sniff out leaks, while United Utilities has hired 16-month-old cocker spaniel Snipe to carry out this important work on their behalf.


If you’re concerned about leaks at your place of business and want to make sure you’re not losing money because of wasted water, get in touch with us here at H2O Building Services to find out how we can help you where this is concerned.