How we find and fix leaks

We use some amazing technology to find and fix leaks in our region.

Water is, of course, a vital part of everybody's day-to-day life. As your water company, we have a responsibility to protect that water supply for everyone.

Part of that involves finding and fixing leaks all over our region to make sure nothing is wasted, and we go to great lengths to make sure we're doing all we can to reduce and stop leakage. In 2019, the Environment Agency warned that England could face water shortages within 25 years as a result of climate change and a rising population.

This makes the work we do to increase our water efficiency all the more important.

Using technology to detect leaks

With the majority of our network buried underground, it can be hard to locate the exact source of a leak, or spot it before it breaches the surface.

Any water that escapes from the network is wasted water, and we are working hard to minimise the level of water lost as it travels through the pipes.

Our teams are constantly monitoring our network, checking for subtle changes in flow rate and pressure that may indicate leaks. Their expertise, combined with the technology we use, means we manage to detect 60% of leaks before they become an issue for the public.

Drones and satellites

We use airborne technology to help us pinpoint leaks from the sky.

Drones and satellites can inspect large areas of our network, surveying the surface for changes in ground conditions, including a change in colour of vegetation.

They can also check chlorine levels and reach areas of our network that are hard to access, and relay information back to our experts.

Acoustic and pressure loggers

Acoustic loggers are a major part of our leak detection technology. They pick up vibrations from a leak when they’re attached to a pipe. Those vibrations are reviewed by our technicians who can use that information to find a leak.

We often use these at night, when the network is at its quietest and there is less background noise. The loggers listen out for the distinctive sound patterns that escaping water produces.

We also have pressure loggers, permanently assessing the pressure levels in our pipes. These are able to detect changes in flow and pressure. If there is an unexpected drop in pressure, that suggests there may be a leak.  

By placing one of these loggers at either end of a section of pipe that we are investigating, we can use the data they collect to triangulate the position of the leak.

We're then able to tell if the issue is on our network or on private pipework. If it's on our network, the data helps us to make sure we dig in the right place so we can get to work fixing it quickly. If the leak is on private pipework, we'll make sure we inform the tenant or homeowner so they know what to do next.