All over the world millions of people are experiencing global water scarcity. By 2025 over 30% will see water shortage in their region and the main cause of all this water loss is leaky pipes.

Imagine, a fixable problem causes 20 – 30% of treated water to become lost into our systems over plumbing leaks.

The International Water Management Institute said, “1.8 trillion people will live in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity. Most countries in the Middle East and North Africa can be classified as absolute water scarcity. By 2025 these countries will be joined by Pakistan, South Africa, and wide parts of India and China.”

Water pipe repairs are tricky, and need to be precise as possible. If the entire pipe system needs to be removed and replaced, it can be extremely costly and can lead to other problems. These common plumbing repairs can affect traffic, local businesses, families and daily commuters in the area.

leaky pipes
An Indian boy bathes under a leaking water pipe on a highway in the Kutch district of Gujarat state, India. Ajit Solanki/AP

Not only costly and troublesome, these water leaks also pose a health risk from contaminants entering the water stream and more often corroded pipes.

Concordia University in Montreal have developed an interesting solution to water scarcity cause by plumbing leaks. A professor in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering has been working on a specialized plumbing leak detection tool called a noise logger.

Noise loggers detect leaky pipes more accurately and efficiently before major repairs are needed such as road repair by using sound wave technology.

Tarek Zayed says, “this approach can cut the duration of a leak, as well as the cost and time involved in locating the site in need of repair.”

To test their theories on their leak detection service, the researchers involved in the study went to Qatar. Fellow doctorate Mohammed S. El-Abbassy, and recent graduate Fadi Mosleh and Ahmed Senouci from the University of Houston and Qatar University all co-wrote the study.

leak detection service

Qatar has one of the lowest precipitation rates in the world, as well as one of the highest evaporation rates – meaning the little rain that does fall is quickly absorbed as water vapor says

The noise logger was installed along the institutions main water networks in Qatar. The device is uses to record the constant noise generated by a leak over a two-hour period. The data are then analyzed, comparing the sound levels and sound spreads. If an anomaly was constant, that meant a leak was possibly detected and investigation occurred.

The data was collected across 140 different points and using mathematical simulations, 99.5 percent of their findings were correct.

Zayed and his team will continue to collect water leak-data using the noise loggers and continue to further customize the underground water leak detection predictor.

“Qatar is now facing significant challenges about its water supply,” explains Zayed. “It’s water distribution network now suffers from 30 to 35 percent water loss due to leakage.”

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