Stopping water leaks before they happen

Aged urban water systems lose huge amounts of water each year – more than 2 trillion gallons annually in the US alone. That amounts to a sixth of the water piped to homes and businesses. In less developed countries, the losses can be even worse.

Now Aquarius Spectrum, an Israeli company, says its technology can detect weak spots in water pipes before they spring a leak.

Until now, leak detection has been both art and science. High-tech gear can let engineers know that a leak has happened. Finding it can mean digging up large patches of soil and street – sometimes at a cost of $1 million a mile.

Aquarius Spectrum installs acoustic sensors at various points along a water system. Every night, the sensors take soundings and send the data to a Cloud database. Software looks for differences in each sounding that indicate a change in water volume or pressure. That helps pinpoint the distance that a leak or weak spot is from the sensor with 99 percent accuracy.

The company has installed its gear on water systems in Jerusalem, the UK, on 10 US water systems, and is just beginning work in China.

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