1,200 leak monitoring sensors to be deployed islandwide
PUB's new technologies can accurately identify and pinpoint location of underground pipe leaks within 3m
Some 1,200 leak monitoring sensors are to be deployed islandwide before the end of next year, adding to PUB's toolkit of new leak detection technologies.
The national water agency said last Friday that 120 such sensors currently line the large water mains here, monitoring and analysing noises in the pipes to pick up the presence of leaks.
These sensors are able to accurately identify and pinpoint the location of a leak within 3m.
In the three years since the sensors were piloted in 2017, they have been able to detect 13 leaks - including a 13mm hole at the base of a pipe beside a major expressway.
While some may think water leaks are a rare occurrence here, PUB has recorded about five leaks for every 100km of pipes yearly in recent years.
As Singapore's pipe network stretches over about 5,700km, this makes for about 285 leaks a year, or about five a week.
Mr Waseem Khan, 31, who leads PUB's leak detection unit, clarified this is actually one of the lowest rates in the world. The senior engineer said it is not possible for there to be no leaks.
PUB said it is important to continually detect and repair leaks - even the small ones - before they escalate, in order to conserve precious water.
So on Friday, it unveiled several new technologies that assist it in this endeavour. These include a SmartBall - a round sensor encased in a protective foam covering. It is put into a pipe and propelled along by the flow of the water.
This allows it to detect any cracks or anomalies along the walls of the pipe by picking up noise signatures related to leaks, and survey long stretches of pipe in a single deployment.
Over 500km of pipes will be monitored by these sensors over the next five years, said PUB.
Its leak detection teams have also been equipped with smartphone sensors since last year.
One end of the sensor is attached to any smartphone, the other is placed on a pipe fitting to pick up sounds from the pipe.
An app on the phone will automatically digitise and analyse the sounds picked up by the sensor, while filtering out any ambient noise, accurately pinpointing the location of any leaks.
The agency's director of water supply (network) Ridzuan Ismail said: "With intelligent leak monitoring and detection technology, we are taking a more preventive and predictive approach and moving away from a resource-intensive operation that requires very specialised skills. This will bring us closer to our goal of transforming our operations through digitalisation to become a smart utility of the future."
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