In most residential areas, at least 1/3 of piped is not accounted. It is lost midway between water purification or pumping station and the tap at the consumption point. Besides, the conspicuous leaking pipes thrusting large pools of water, there is always a tiny leak in almost every functional tap.
It brings an enormous financial strain to consumers since water consumption by an individual or organisation tends to measured with the attached meter.
Causes of water leaks are;
- Poorly maintained pipes
- Rusting of pipes and connected infrastructure
- Damage to pipes
- Metering problems
- Theft and vandalism
- Fire fighting exercises
- Water pressure
Leak Detection Strategies
One of most reliable leak detection methods. It involves the use of highly sensitive microphones (called hydrophones) placed both on the ground and in the pipe. The hydrophones detect vibrations produced by leakage and transmit it to listening devices which interpret the information to the reader.
Use of Tracer Gas (Sniffing)
Involves the use of a nitrogen and hydrogen blend. These are gases with small weight and molecular size. The gases are also safe from toxicity. The mixture is introduced into the pipe where it is propagated, leaking out at the damaged spot a making its way to ground where it is detected with probes. The point where the gas emerges from the ground
The method uses the difference in the thermal energy to detect leaks, often invisible to the unaided eye. Hot surfaces transmit infrared rays. Leaking water alters thermal profile of the surrounding soil. The difference in temperature between leaking water, soil and the pipe is interpreted by an infrared camera, thus identifying a damaged surface on the tube.
Water under pressure escaping pipes creates vibrations. By use of correlators or listening equipment, the point of noise detection is identified and eventually leads the corresponding source of noise.
Use Of Ground Radar
Leaking water creates spaces on the ground while making the soil absorb moisture and heating than the surrounding. The radar is deployed and analyses the soil profile of the area. These spaces and profile unevenness is detecting, revealing the leakage point.
Cable detection method
Other leakage methods are often imprecise, just locating estimate points. Sometimes, special noise loggers and tracers are attached to a wire and propagated through the entire pipeline, only stopping at the precise point of leakage.
Sometimes a person can identify damaged pipes by just walking around the house or through the pipeline facilities locating the conspicuously leaking water.
Setbacks to Effective and Correct Leakage Detection.
- The type of pipes influences the method of detection with plastic pipes being the hardest to identify.
- Some equipment used, such as Thermal imagers are expensive.
- The process may result to dismantling the entire distribution infrastructure.
- The process can get too technical, involving hire of professionals, preparation of leak detection survey etc…
Why it’s important to detect water leakage.
- To ensure efficiency
- Reducing water bill
- To prevent contamination
- To improve lifespan the transmission infrastructure
- To prevent further damage to equipment
- Reducing water outages
- Improving public relations as leakage pipes can be a nuisance in public places