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A wide range of technologies deal with water leaks. But the most recent innovative solutions aim to be far more effective than any other prior technologies.
Water from underground pipes often leaks. Particularly, in countries with an antiquated underground waterpipe infrastructure. In the case of Greece, for example, leaks are estimated to constitute up to 50% of total consumption. Worse, many of these leaks are extremely difficult to find and repair due to the lack of detailed mapping of the network.
Solutions are available, though. For example, there is a recently developed technology, which identifies defects and leaks, monitors the buried infrastructures and evaluates water pipe conditions. It results from the WATERPIPE research project, funded by the EU and completed in 2009.
“[The technology] was designed to provide a three dimensional representation of the underground waterpipe network and at the same time provide information about the condition of both metallic and non-metallic pipes,” explains Matthaios Bimpas, a researcher who was involved in the project based at the i-Sense team of the Research Institute of Communication and Computer Systems (ICCS) of the National Technical University of Athens, Greece.
What is more, “[it] aimed at reducing water loss through leakage control and at promoting a water efficient, environmentally sustainable water industry by mitigating the impacts of global water cycle change that lead to the reduction of water resources,” Bimpas tells youris.com.
Most of water utilities industries currently use various technologies to locate leaks. The most commonly used methods for detecting water leaks can be classified in above-ground systems like acoustic equipment and external to the pipe but connected to it such as the so-called “leak noise correlator.” The latter “listens” to all noise emanating from two points at a known distance apart. “The main drawback of acoustic and leak noise correlator methods is their inefficiency in detecting water-leaks at non-metallic pipes, which tend to dominate the water distribution networks,” explains Bimpas.
The technology developed under the project constitutes an improvement. “To overcome [the lack of detection efficiency], passive radiometric and [active ground-penetrating radar (GPR)] technologies have been developed to improve the detection capability of leaks in water supply pipes,” Bimpas tells youris.com. Two specific active techniques are included using a so-called wide-band frequency modulation-continuous wave (FM-CW) radar and a so-called continuous wave (CW) radar for doppler detection. “Combining these three independent modalities is expected to provide improved detection performance for all pipe materials,” says Bimpas.
Within the range of alternative innovative technologies that have emerged since the project was completed, those based on transient tests have gathered great interest. “Transient test-based techniques are very cheap and do not interfere with functioning conditions since the duration of tests is very short,” says Bruno Brunone, professor of hydraulics at the faculty of engineering of the University of Perugia, Italy. “The principle on which they are based is a property of pressure waves that explore the pipe pointing out the presence of a leak,” he adds.
When it comes to dealing with the large diameter pipes connecting the water production area and the reservoirs, such techniques allow to reliably locate and sizeable leaks. It can also identify other anomalies such as negligently partially closed valves, partial blockages due to the deposition of lime.
Despite these advances in leak detection technologies, further investment needs to be made to reduce leakage. “We need to rationalise practices for leakage estimation, reporting, and target setting to ensure realistic comparisons are made between countries, and between regions within companies”, says Durk Krol, director of the international nonprofit association supporting water development called the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP) located in Brussels, Belgium.
He believes in the importance of understanding the factors involved in the decisions surrounding appropriate leakage reduction targets, and to ensure that targets are aligned to leakage estimates and reporting methods. “Without this fundamental work, it is likely that leakage management strategies will be inefficient and possibly ineffective.”
*Article published at youris.com (European Research Media Center): http://www.youris.com/Environment/Water_Quality/Radar_Exposing_Water_Leaks.kl

The meeting brought together the whole consortium partners as recognised water professionals from various countries and organisations to create the synergies necessary for the successful achievement of project results. The consortium includes ten partners from six Mediterranean countries, covering a good share of the Mediterranean basin, from East to West and from South to North. The Applicant and five partners are located in EC countries (Greece, Italy and Cyprus) and they include two water operators, two universities and two engineering consultants. The other four partners are in Mediterranean Partner territories (Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan) and comprise three water operators and one engineering company. The project is also endorsed by three associates which are major water and environmental institutions in Italy, Egypt and Jordan.

During this meeting the coordinator I-SENSE group of ICCS, introduced the overall project methodology and explained the procedures for technical and administrative management of the project. The first part of the kick off meeting illustrated the technical approach of the project and discussed about each partners’ specific needs, objectives and methodologies. Each partner made presentations about their activities in the project (e.g. technology transfer, pilot activity, training etc). The second part of the meeting focused on the operational management procedures of the project, i.e. the decision making procedures and the partnership coordination structures. At the end of the meeting action lists and a precise work plan were defined.

More details on AQUAKNIGHT can be found at the project website.

 

Following the successful orientation of the previous MEMSCON Workshop (“Workshop on Structural Monitoring and Assessment of Civil Engineering Structures”) held in October 2010 in Bucharest (Romania), the project final workshop has been organised in Athens on the 29th March 2012 . This final MEMSCON Workshop has to provided a state-of-the-art report on recent research activities, technological utilisation and commercialisation activities in structural monitoring systems and software for the status-dependent maintenance and repair of constructed facilities. This event has brought together the Structural Health Monitoring community, European construction companies, owners of constructed facilities, insurance companies, policy makers and sector experts.

The EC co-funded project MEMSCON, with the aid of recent advances into Computation, Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID), Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and Low-Power Wireless technologies, provides latest generation, cheap and easy to mount sensors that can equip buildings and provide quantitative information on the structure’s physical state while in service. The system is installable into concrete buildings and data are wirelessly sent to a central station for processing and supporting decisions on proactive rehabilitation and rehabilitation after earthquake damages. It is highly expected that this will result in increased safety and lower maintenance costs by tackling problems when they first appear. Furthermore, it is highly expected that MEMSCON will transform the SME dominated building rehabilitation sector into an advanced knowledge sector, enhance the competitiveness of European SMEs, reduce time to assess the structural condition of a building in service and decide on remedial measures, promote sustainability, offer services with a high value added and enable the entrance of MEMS European SMEs to the large building market.

More details on the event can be found at the event pages and the project website.

 

ICeWater Kick-Off Meeting took place on the 1st and 2nd of October 2012 at Siemens premises in Milano Bicocca, Italy. Representatives of Siemens, Toshiba, Metropolitana Milanese (MM), Aquatim, ITALDATA, UNESCO IHE, CMR, K&S and ICCS participated in the event. MM and Aquatim presented their water distribution network and also described their priorities regarding problems and challenges for better water monitoring and management. Following this initial brainstorming, each WP leader made a brief overview of their WP objectives and challenges. On the second day, several administrative issues were resolved and the meeting was completed with an on-site visit to MM premises.

Inside the framework of AQUAKNIGHT activities,several training activites have taken place as presented below.

AQUAKNIGHT has prepared a set of training sessions in the participating Mediterranean Partner Countries (MPCs). The first two training sessions took place at the Alexandria Water Company headquarters (24th -25th April 2012, Egypt) and SONEDE headquarters (27-28 June 2012, Tunis).These two courses have introduced best practices in leakage control to the staff of the participating water utiltities in the MPC. The topics were Water Balance Auditing and Leakage Control technologies. A third training session took place at the Aqaba Water Company headquarters (10-11 December 2012, Aqaba, Jordan), focusing on tests on meters accuracy, UFR (unmeasured flow reducer) tests to quantify enhancement in water metering as well asssessment of the impact of private storage tanks on water metering and AMRs (automatic meter reading).

The first training course for Mediterranean EU partners took place on the 19-20 Sept'12 in Reggio Emilia (Italy). The course dealt with International Best Practices and comprised sessions on AMR technology and applications. 

More details on the project activities can be found at the project website.

 

We are very pleased to announce that the evaluation outcome of the MARSOL- “Demonstrating Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Solution to Water Scarcity and Drought” proposal submitted under the FP7-ENV-2013-WATER-INNO-DEMO is 15 out of 15. The reviewers found this proposal excellent in all parts. The Institute of Communication and Computer Systems is listed as a MARSOL partner and had a significant contribution to the proposal preparation performed by the whole MARSOL consortium.

Dr. Angelos Amditis, the Head of I-Sense Research Group, recently participated in the review panel of the programme "Transport" as an evaluator. "Transport" is a programme of the Helmhotz association (http://www.helmholtz.de/en/). The review took place on Monday, 22 April 2013 at the site of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne.

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In an effort to optimize water consumption and to minimize leakages in the Mediterranean region, the AQUAKNIGHT project is deploying smart water meters as part of five pilot actions in Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Italy and Cyprus. A first international conference on water leakage, attended by distribution network operators, recently took place in Alexandria in order to showcase the best practices tested by the project in view of improving the efficiency of water management.  

It is estimated that most of the distribution networks in the emerging countries leak 50% of the water distributed. In response to this situation, the AQUAKNIGHT project aims to develop advanced technologies and to transfer know how for minimizing leakages and reducing non-revenue water (water which cannot be metered and invoiced).

This goal will be achieved through pilot actions in the Mediterranean region in Egypt (Alexandria), Tunisia (Tunis), Jordan (Aqaba), Italy (Genoa) and Cyprus (Limassol). Mr. Ahmed Gaber Chéhata, the CEO of AlexWater - the drinking water company in Alexandria and the Egyptian partner in AQUAKNIGHT - explains: "we installed volumetric meters in the entrance hall or under the stairwell in each building to enable the metering of very low flow levels. These devices are also equipped with pressure regulators in order to better manage the backflow and leakage of water. We also deployed smart meters equipped with state-of-the-art AMR (automated meter reading) technology which provide detailed and accurate information on household consumption and transmit it by telephone to the data manager at the drinking water facility". According to Mr. Gaber Chéhata "the AQUAKNIGHT project enabled us to reduce our natural losses - due to old pipes and connections etc. - by 2% in the Arama neighbourhood, the district selected in Alexandria".

"Stopping water leakages" is the third issue of a series of features prepared by the EU Neighbourhood Info Centre on the projects funded under the ENPI CBC Med Programme, following those on ShMILE 2 "Hotels are going green too" and MEDOLICO "Turning olive oil waste into Euros while protecting nature".

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The AQUAKNIGHT project (http://www.aquaknight.eu) is inviting you to the 1st AQUAKNIGHT International conference “Water Leakage detection solutions in the Mediterrenean basin: the AQUAKNIGHT approach” on 15 May 2013 at Alexandria, Egypt.

AQUAKNIGHT responds to the need of all countries in the Mediterranean region to optimize performance of water networks and reduce water losses. The project’s consortium intends to facilitate the dialogue among water institutions and operators from different regions in the Mediterranean area, and promote sustainable solutions for tackling water scarcity in the region. An effective use of the resource will prevent inter-basin transfers as well as international and national conflicts for water use.

During this conference participants will have the opportunity to learn more about the project developments and specifically about the IT solutions for leakage management and innovative tools used for Active Leakage Control, efficient water demand management through several success stories. Moreover, the Egyptian legislation framework for water services and possible funding opportunities and investments in the area will be also presented.

Participants may include water operators/utilities in the Mediterranean EU and Partner countries, water regulators and network stakeholders, researchers working in the water companies and institutes as well as any other interested person from all over the world.

The official invitation letter as well as the conference programme can be foundhere.

If you are interested to participate in this conference you are kindly requested to fill in the registration formand send it by fax or e-mail to:

Mrs Yosr Salah:

E-mail:yosr.salah@alexwater.com

Phone: 002033933009 - Fax: 002033914735

or

Mrs Daniela Bergamotti:

E-mail:daniela.bergamotti@irenacquagas.it

Phone: 00390105586866 - Fax: 00390105586847

 

 

Rapid advances in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, in Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), in lower-power wireless networking and in computation give hopes for a new generation of small, inexpensive, networked sensors that can be distributed on civil and building structures to provide accurate, quantitative information on the structure's physical state while in service. This information can be used to assess the structural condition of the monitored facility and aid decision making on rehabilitation so that safety can be attained and rehabilitation costs can be reduced. The most relative properties for structural analysis are movement (acceleration and displacement) and forces. The corresponding sensors that produce these measurements are accelerometers and strain sensors (stresses and forces can be deduced from strain measurements).