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Pioneering British business uses satellite data analytics to detect and predict water pipeline leaks in Australia

Harwell, Oxfordshire, UK, 23rd August, 2016. Rezatec, a fast-growing and pioneering UK-based geospatial data analytics company, is reaching new global markets, commencing an innovative project with Australian water and sewerage utility, Unitywater. This project aims to bring water-saving analysis and insight across the globe to help Unitywater reduce water loss, improve operational efficiency and reduce below ground asset management costs.

Unitywater provides water supply and sewerage services to customers in Moreton Bay, Noosa and Sunshine Coast areas, located on the east coast of Australia, just north of Brisbane, Queensland. Its priority is to provide a fast-growing customer base with a high quality, safe and reliable water supply and sewerage service that is economically and environmentally sustainable.

Satellites can predict pipe leakage
Satellites can predict pipe leakage
Unitywater operates and maintains more than $AU 3.1 billion of essential service infrastructure, supplying services to more than 300,000 customers spread across a network of more than 11,000km of water mains and sewer pipes. All water companies, wherever they operate in the world, want to minimize the water lost from pipes – Unitywater is no exception. Unitywater is specifically investigating innovative methods of non-destructive, leak detection on trunk water mains (16% of their pipeline network) that do not interrupt the day-to-day service. A proportion of the Unitywater trunk water mains are located in remote bushland terrain, which means that conventional detection methods cannot be used. These ground conditions differ from those found in the UK, presenting a new challenge for the technology.

As part of this approach, Unitywater is now trialling Rezatec’s pipeline leakage detection satellite data analytics service on a 200km2 area of the Sunshine Coast combining both rural and urban areas. The first phase of the project focuses on a retrospective analysis of the last 12 months’ actual leakage data in order to calibrate with Rezatec’s analytical techniques. Following a successful first phase, the second phase will be to accurately monitor and predict future pipeline leaks in a live trial.

“Unitywater is a progressive organisation and we’re always looking for new and innovative methods to improve operations, keep costs as low as possible and provide an excellent service to our customers. This project fits very well with our values and our vision.” Simon Taylor, Executive Manager Infrastructure Planning & Capital Delivery, Unitywater.

In order to achieve the historic and predictive analysis, Rezatec initially acquires and processes a range of Earth Observation (EO) data sets including optical and radar satellite data, and soil and weather data. Then, applying its proprietary analytical techniques, Rezatec measures anomalous vegetation growth, soil moisture fluctuations and minute variations in terrain movement to deliver an impressive data product capable of detecting and predicting pipeline leakage in order to more effectively deploy ground resources and save operational costs and inefficiencies.

“Rezatec is experiencing great success providing UK water companies with valuable and cost effective tools derived from our unique geospatial data analytics. And now our expansion into the Australian market, working firstly with Unitywater, validates the global demand and application for our EO decision-support tools.” Philip Briscoe, Business Unit Director, Rezatec.

In the booming UK space sector, Rezatec has developed a unique set of data products and services for the global utilities, agriculture and energy sectors, allowing truly informed decision-making in relation to land and asset management.

Rezatec currently works with one third of UK water companies including Scottish Water, South West Water, Portsmouth Water and Bristol Water providing geospatial data analytics around below ground asset management, peatland restoration and management and agricultural land use diffuse pollution mapping and risk assessment.

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