As part of the company's ongoing strategy to use new technologies to help identify and fix water leaks, Severn Trent has recently completed a successful trial with Earth-i, a New Space firm that specializes in data analytics and accompanying insights.
During the UK’s hot summer, Earth-i conducted analysis on imagery captured by British built satellites orbiting at 650 km. above the Earth. Images were taken of land across Severn Trent’s supply area, which stretches from the Bristol Channel to the Humber all the way to mid-Wales and the East Midlands, an area of approximately 20,000 km2.
Earth-i processed and analyzed the 80 cm., very high resolution imagery using a technique known as Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) analysis, cross-referencing against the location of the water pipelines. The first identifying factor during the dry summer was where grass and vegetation was unusually vigorous or healthy in contrast to the prevailing conditions in the area.
This is the first time that Severn Trent has commissioned the use of imagery analysis with very high-resolution optical satellites to help identify leaks in a range of circumstances, including leaks that might be hidden far underground or in more remote areas. Water companies are now using ever more innovative methods to reduce the amount of water lost through pipe leaks. Earth-i’s data analytics provides insights that help water companies achieve their leak reduction targets.
Paul Majmader, Commercial Director at Earth-i, said that the company is working closely on this trial with Severn Trent, which has produced excellent results. There has been significant interest across the water industry where the company is actively engaging in numerous projects to help other companies quickly detect leaks in the pipeline network. These projects benefit the water companies as well as water consumers. This is a great demonstration of the type of everyday challenges that imagery from space can help to tackle.