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Our Managing Director, David Frost, recently sat down to discuss changes in leak detection technology and new water industry regulations that are driving this change.

"Pressure on leakage levels coming from UK water industry regulators is creating noise in the UK leak location technology market", says David Frost, our Managing Director. 

"The scale of leak reduction required by water companies in England and Wales in AMP7 is sharpening strategies to address this eternal industry challenge. Many water companies have set themselves much tougher targets than the 15% imposed by the regulator over the next five years - with Thames Water and Yorkshire Water both citing 25 per cent reduction from 2020-25.

To date, only three utilities have had their business plans approved - Severn Trent, South West Water and United Utilities. As the industry awaits more detail from Ofwat, it is important to identify where those water loss reductions will be made.

In the short-term, water companies can increase the workforce and drive customer and staff reporting in their effort to find and fix leaks, but new detection technologies also have a key role to play. Acoustic loggers that can pinpoint leaks by measuring the sound generated by water escaping the network are front-of-field in this leak-focussed, water-stressed era.

With this in mind we recently acquired Primayer, a leading light in pinpoint leak detection. We recognise that the high level of regulation in the UK is challenging the industry to continue to improve performance, driving faster adoption of innovation and making a mature, UK leak technology company like Primayer highly attractive.

The process starts with Primayer’s onsite datalogger and correlation system, which feeds directly into Servelec Technologies’ highly secure SCADA/telemetry data transfer systems.     

Industrial IoT is reshaping automation, engineering and infrastructure globally and for the water industry, the installation of multiple low-cost leak detection devices makes capturing real-time operational data much easier. By harnessing and transmitting this wealth of newly available data, companies can carry out strategic operational analysis to drive efficiencies and reduce cost.

Leakage is a global challenge and the UK leads the way. Since privatisation the regulator Ofwat has set the UK water industry stringent leakage targets. Water companies can only meet these targets by using the latest innovative smart technology such as those offered by Primayer and Servelec Technologies.

Our market intelligence tells us that budgets will increase significantly for this kind of technology in many regions globally. We now have the opportunity to leverage the full portfolio through our combined channel partner networks.

Water utilities cannot continue to do what they have always done and deliver on their customer commitments. In terms of leakage and spillage events, the UK regulators are gaining teeth through penalties, which is positive from our point of view because our technologies are designed to mitigate these risks.

We are optimistic that AMP7 is going to bring a significant increase in the opportunity for organic market growth. We expect to penetrate further and grow significantly, especially through Primayer’s pinpoint leak-noise correlating technology.

Water companies are looking for greater analytics capability and we have the hardware and software to provide just that – along with the capability to make better decisions remotely using real-time data. This gives us the perfect tail-wind as we take forward the synergies born from bringing these exciting businesses and technology portfolios together."