Case Study

Satellite Leak Detection in Tuscany

Italian utility, AdF adopts Rezatec Geospatial AI tools to improve leak detection and prevention.

AUTHOR

Related Topics

Leak Detection

Satellite Detection

Acquedotto del Fiora SpA (AdF) is Tuscany’s largest water company in terms of the size of its network, which covers 55 municipalities, including all 28 in the province of Grosseto and 27 in the province of Siena. With many water treatment and distribution assets, AdF’s pipeline network stretches across 8,000 km.

THE CHALLENGE

Rural Tuscany has a relatively low population density, and despite the size of its network AdF serves only around 400,000 customers. With unaccounted for water totalling around 42.5% of its treated water, this extended network makes it particularly challenging to identify failures and the sources of losses.

On a mission to become a data-driven utility, AdF needed to analyse its network for leak detection and determine how to utilise its workforce most efficiently.

THE SOLUTION

Faced with additional network challenges and striving to meet its regulatory requirements, AdF turned to smarter, digital solutions. Initially, the utility opted for a standard Geographical Information System (GIS) approach, enabling the team to better understand its network.

Rezatec’s Geospatial AI, Pipeline Risk product was deployed across 674 km of the AdF water network in a pilot programme launched in January 2021. The solution is being used to verify the network trends and identify those parts of the network that must be replaced in the following investment plan period.

The Geospatial AI Edge

The Rezatec model considers parameters such as the diameter and age of a pipeline, as well as the material of its construction, ductile iron or polyethylene, for instance. This is combined with environmental data, including data on the terrain and soil characteristics the pipeline is buried in, such as its pH. Fused with satellite data, Rezatec’s machine learning model also analyses the smallest displacements to assess factors such as ground motion, uplift and subsidence.

“This is something that can help us improve our performance and enable us to reach our goals and the key performance indicators mandated by ARERA, the Italian Regulatory Authority for Energy, Networks and Environment.”

-Alessio Giunti, Head of Water Balance and Metering Equipment, Water Resource Protection -Acquedotto del Fiora S.p.A.

RESULTS

Early performance indicators have been encouraging. Data from the first four months of 2021 reveals that 18 leaks were identified by internal loss research teams across nine days of activity. Of these, 15 of the leaks were identified by the Rezatec model as having a high risk of failure. This gives an evident correlation of over 80% between actual losses identified in areas reported on the Rezatec portal as critical.

By quickly identifying those pipeline sections with the highest risk and consequences of failure, Rezatec’s geospatial AI model enables water distribution companies to improve accuracy and direct maintenance resources to the right place. New technologies such as satellite data and AI enable progressive companies like AdF to work smarter, not just harder.

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