Toronto: Researchers have developed new artificial intelligence (AI)-based sensors that could detect even small leaks in pipes and significantly help reduce expensive water losses in municipal water systems. The technology, developed by researchers from the University of Waterloo in collaboration with industry partners, works by pre-processing acoustic data using advanced signal processing techniques to highlight components associated with leaks.
The acoustic data are recorded by hydrophone sensors that can be easily and inexpensively installed in existing fire hydrants without excavation or taking them out of service. That makes it possible for machine learning algorithms to identify leaks by distinguishing their signs from the many other sources of noise in a water distribution system, the researchers said. Areas with older infrastructure have higher loss rates of their clean water between treatment and delivery due to leaks, bursts and other issues. Major problems such as burst pipes are revealed by pressure changes, volume fluctuations or water simply bubbling to the surface, but small leaks often go undetected for years. (IANS)