New Way To Check Water Leaks

Published: 16th April 2015 06:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th April 2015 06:02 AM   |  A+A-

MALLESWARAM:Researchers at Indian Institute of Science have prepared the prototype of a monitoring system that can help check water leakage.

A team led by Bharadwaj Amrutur of the Department of Electronic Systems Engineering and Prof M S Mohan Kumar of the Civil Engineering Department measured water inflow and outflow at the IISc campus as part of their study.

A paper explaining their work has appeared in the journal IEEE Xplore. It was presented recently at the 28th International Conference on VLSI Design.

At the IISc, water supplied by the BWSSB is stored in ground-level reservoirs and overhead tanks. Inflow can be measured at the point of entry but measuring outflow from each of the pipes can be challenging.

“Many pipelines are underground. It is a tedious and costly affair to identify the correct places, and then dig and instal sensors,” said Vignesh Kudwa, author of the paper.

The alternative was to instal flow measurement sensors at the input point and then measure volume in the reservoirs.

The volume in the reservoirs gives the difference between the inflow and the outflow.

corp.jpgWater volume measurement can be done with the help of pressure gauges immersed in the water or with non-immersion equipment. The researchers chose the non-immersion method as it eliminates the risk of water contamination.

The method works with the fitting of an ultrasound transmitter and receiver at the lid of the reservoir. The volume is calculated by measuring the distance of the water from the lid.

For this study, inflow sensors and water level sensors were fitted with wireless transmitters. The sensors transmitted details to a database server over the Internet. The researchers chose sub giga Hz communication, a special form of communication, for the experiment.

They also used Epanet, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s modelling software for water distribution systems, to analyse the data.

The reservoir water volume graph shows a typical pattern according to inflow and usage. Any anomaly can be used to raise an alarm.

“For example, during the research, we realised that the water volume inside a certain reservoir had gone down to zero in a very short time. The programmed alarm system sent a warning. Investigations pointed to a tap accidentally kept open,” Vignesh said.

The advantage of this system is that it can be constructed from off-the-shelf, inexpensive components.

The scientists believe this is an important step towards developing real-time monitoring systems for larger water distribution systems.

How it works

  •     Sensors are fitted to tanks
  •     They match water level with tank capacity
  •     Sensors send details to servers in real time
  •     Software analyses data and patterns
  •     In case of leaks, server sets off an alarm
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