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Improving Efficiency of Leak Detection with Satellite Technology

Prince William County, VA

Prince William County Service Authority (PWCSA) compared the use of satellite technology to traditional acoustic in detecting leaks in its water system. The results indicate that satellite technology can greatly improve the efficiency of leak detection.

Topics Covered

Water Supply & Drought
Energy Efficiency
Asset Management


Initial: 40 Thousand USD


Innovative Finance

Project Status

Operational since 2022

Gov Champion

Prince William County Service Authority

Problem Addressed

The Prince William County Service Authority (PWCSA) has an on-going commitment to continuously improve water service to its customers.

One of the components of this commitment is an assessment of its water system’s transmission and distribution lines to eliminate leaks and identify pipes that may require repair, rehabilitation or replacement. The PWCSA is also a leader in testing and deploying new and innovative technologies to enhance operations.

Solutions Used

The PWCSA focused the pilot study, technology validation program, AOI on the Woodbridge Low pressure zone.

This area includes approximately 200 miles of water main and service pipe. This location was chosen due to its elevated age of pipe and because it has an estimated real water loss of 15 percent, which is above other sections of the PWCSA system. The pilot used Utilis' satellite technology to detect leaks in the Woodbridge Low pressure zone to determine what benefits satellite technology may have over traditional acoustic in detecting leaks. The pilot indicated that water utilities may stand to gain overwhelming service and efficiency improvements through the adoption of satellite leak detection technology.



Satellite approach found 72 leaks over 10.4 days (6.9/day) vs. traditional approach that found 18 leaks over 27 day (0.67/day)


Satellite approach was 10 times more effective than the traditional approach in finding leaks based on the temporal metric


The traditional team had a performance metric of 0.09 leaks found per mile physically inspected. The satellite-driven approach had a performance of 2.4 leaks found per mile.


Utilis's satellite approach was 25 times more effective.

Something Unique

Comparison study was done by an independent party, a consultant from engineering firm GHD.

Who Should Consider

All utilities looking to reduce non-revenue water by finding and repairing leaks.

Last Updated

Mar 20th, 2019
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