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  • by Trevor Loveday

United Utilities trials smart network technology in a whole town


United Utilities has begun what it says is the largest UK water network trial of a smart monitoring system that brings together data from an array of sensors on the network to accelerate the location of leaks and possibly predict the location of leakage incidents.

The trial system – which covers the water network for the town of Macclesfield in Cheshire – will include the capacity to identify patterns and learn from them using artificial intelligence. This, United Utilities said, could detect and prevent other network problems as well as leakage.

The water firm is trialling the system in collaboration with ten technology providers until April 2021, when United Utilities will evaluate whether to roll it out in other parts of the North West.

United Utilities’ partners in the trial include Stantec, Xylem, Vodafone, Diehl, ATi, Inflowmatix, HWM, Gutermann, Technolog and Ovarro. Head of Smart Networks and Leakage at Stantec, Damian Crawford, who is leading on technical development, said the trial was the first time smart water network technology had been tested at the scale of a whole town.

“The objective of the industry-wide collaboration is to show how technology can improve customer service by monitoring the health of the network using the latest state-of-the-art digital flow and leak sensors, advanced analytics and telecommunications channels,” said Crawford.


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