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Central Arkansas Water increases leak detection efficiency by 400%

Little Rock, AR, USA
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Cost

Initial:
40 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2017

Challenges Addressed

Water Supply & Drought
Essential Services
Energy Efficiency
Asset Management

Motivation

Smart city
Sustainable city
Equitable city

Funding / Financing

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Type

Project
Service

At a Glance

Central Arkansas Water (CAW) is a progressive water utility that already had a well-managed system, but it knew that more could still be done to identify and fix leaks faster, thereby containing water rates for customers. CAW increased their leak detection efficiency by 400% by utilizing new technologies.

Problem Addressed

Non-Revenue Water (NRW) loss - water that has been produced and is "lost" before it reaches the customer - for CAW is estimated to be 10%, it has an Infrastructure leakage Index of 2.5 and an A rating on the International Leakage Performance Category classification. All of these metrics are better than average and are indicative of a well-managed system. But while CAW has several employees that are trained to find background leaks, currently there is no full time proactive program to find these background leaks. CAW is a progressive agency that has implemented innovative programs in the past (it has a program to replace all known or discovered lead service lines system-wide, for example), so the agency knew that more could still be done to identify and fix leaks faster.

Background stats:

-Central Arkansas Water (CAW) serves a population of 450,000

-There are 135,000 residential, commercial and industrial metered customers

-Covers 530 square miles/2500 miles of pipe

-CAW delivers an average of 62MGD

Central Arkansas Water (CAW) used/is using Utilis data to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

This project’s goal was to assess the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the satellite leak detection service provided by Utilis in conjunction with best Boots-on-the-Ground (BOTG) practices as defined by CAW and Utilis. The area selected for the study covers the Little Rock gravity supply zone. CAW regularly conducts proactive leak detection; however, most time is spent responding to customer calls or pressure reduction reports. As a part of this partnership, Utilis provided a target map of findings, or likely leak locations. This target map is then utilized by BOTG leak detection crews to verify and locate the leaks through traditional acoustic and correlating methodologies. The BOTG inspectors are directed to the high potential targets areas, rather than inspecting the entire system.

Outcomes

  1. The utility previously had a non-revenue water loss rate of 10%, but using Utilis, was still able to save even more.
  2. Compared to the normal rate of the CAW field crew using traditional methods, using Utilis increased their efficiency finding leaks by almost 400%.
  3. Thirty-six leaks were found in 11 days of field inspection, an average of 3.3 leaks per day.
  4. Of the 36 leaks identified in this project, 14 were found on pipe mains, six on service lines, and 16 on the customer side of the meter.

Who Should Consider?

Water utilities that want to contain rate increases, reduce costs and proactively identify more leaks.