Northumbrian puts Barnacle to the test

Northumbrian Water is conducting trails with a smart sensor device that is placed inside the toilet cistern without the need for a plumber to identify potential issues with a customers' water supply including a leaky loo or even problems in the local mains network.

The Barnacle prototype is being trialled on a test rig that flushes automatically every ten minutes using recycled water, while researchers alter the flow, pressure and temperature of the water. The trial will gauge the Barnacle’s capacity to gather data at every flush and to detect a difference from the norm.

In a person’s home, differences picked up by the Barnacle could reveal a continuously running intern (leaky loo) , or lower flow rate which could signal a breach in the mains network. The idea for the Barnacle came out of a five-day design “sprint,” facilitated by IT firm, CGI at Northumbrian Water's Innovation Festival in 2018.

Barnacle could provide an early warning system for other problems such as discoloured water and identify risks of freezing pipes, by gathering data on the water inside the toilet.

At this point we have to say that THE WATER REPORT played a small part in the sprint.