Data Acquisition Aids Leak Management

| Information and Communication Technology

The NBIOT data logger for leak detection has optimum connectivity for use in remote locations

Water losses in Europe will be prevented with the help of data acquisition tools to detect and measure leaks

Swiss advanced leak detection technology experts at Gutermann are supplying leak detection and monitoring equipment for the Regions of Apulia and Basilicata in southern Italy as part of a recent Euro 15 million contract from Acquedotto Pugliese (AQP).

The contract will involve the supply and installation of more than 20,000 Zonescan NB-IoT correlating noise loggers using highly efficient cellular narrow-band-IoT communication technology.

AQP carried out a series of tests before selecting the monitoring equipment from Gutermann and will deploy this technology within less than three years in about 200 towns and cities across the entire water distribution system. This deployment will be by far the largest of its kind in continental Europe so far.

Large Investment in Leak Prevention

This leak detection project is supported by funding from the EU’s comprehensive National Recovery and Resiliency Package (PNRR) and is only the first of a range of large-scale infrastructure upgrading initiatives that will be implemented across Europe in the coming years. Global Water Intelligence (GWI) estimates that €1.3 billion will finance innovative water loss mitigation initiatives in Italy alone, with a particular focus on the south of the country where deteriorating network infrastructure has pushed leakage rates above the national average of 40%.

The PNRR was devised and funded on the back of the European Drinking Water Directive 2020/2184 which came into force in January 2021. Under this directive, the European Commission will have adopted a threshold on leakage rates by early 2028. Member States exceeding the threshold will have two years from that date to present an action plan.

The pressure to achieve fast and tangible results from these investments is therefore the highest in the south of the country, and AQP is making a significant commitment to sustainable leakage reduction with the roll-out of Zonescan NB-IoT throughout its network.

Uri Gutermann, CEO of Gutermann says: “We are proud to play an important role in Europe’s massive infrastructure and leakage reduction initiative.”

Zonescan Technology

The selection criteria for this project included strict requirements for device size, communication efficiency and reliability, installation and maintenance efficiency, leak pinpointing accuracy and reliability, and the availability of elaborate cloud analytics and reporting. Gutermann was able to score highly thanks to Zonescan NB-IoT’s main features and benefits.

The device is the smallest correlating leak noise logger in the world and is small enough to fit into all of AQP’s sometimes extremely narrow and shallow main valve chambers. It is also fully automatic with the use of NB-IoT technology, and Gutermann’s proprietary time synchronisation method makes it a highly accurate pinpointing leak monitoring system with high data availability rates. Its batteries typically last more than five years and are field-replaceable, making it very low on maintenance and therefore reduces its full cost of ownership significantly.

Headquartered in Bari, AQP serves a population of over 4 million in 246 municipalities within the Apulia and Basilicata regions. Its supply network stretches over 20,000 km, serving over one million customers. AQP has a strategy for sustainability and resilience to manage the increasing water stress and to reduce the high levels Non-Revenue Water (NRW) – which are main drivers for this project.

According to Simon Fechter, Head of EMEA Sales at Gutermann, it is important not to take water for granted and to manage it in the best possible way.

“Permanent active leak detection using permanent acoustic sensor technology combined with advanced cloud software analytics and functionality is the most effective tool against water leakage,” he says.

Jonathan Newell
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