Hunter Water IoT trial to detect leaks and protect water infrastructure

Published: June 14th, 2019

Sydney, 12 June 2019

A digital innovation trial by Hunter Water and NNNCo will assist in detecting leaks and predicting water main bursts before they occur.

The 12-month trial will test a range of sensors to monitor the water pressure and flow in parts of the Hunter Water network in the Lake Macquarie area. It will use NNNCo’s carrier-grade LoRaWAN network and N2N-DL data platform to connect devices and deliver essential data.

The trial deploys 30 pressure sensors to monitor water pressure in real time across 25 km of pipe mains and five Water Flow meters to monitor flow in Hunter Water’s pipes. NNNCo’s multi-purpose N-sen device will provide connectivity to both sensor types to the network.

The sensors will alert Hunter Water to reductions in water pressure and flow, enabling the utility to respond quickly to fix leaks and prevent pipe bursts.

Hunter Water’s Chief Information and Technology Officer, Richard Harris, said the trial was an exciting opportunity for Hunter Water.

“These devices, combined with the use of advanced analytics, will give us greater visibility into how the system is performing. Having that visibility will allow us to more quickly find and respond to breaks if they occur, particularly those in remote locations.”

“Leaks can sometimes be a precursor to a water main break, so the sooner we find leaks, the sooner we can fix them and minimise any potential impact on our customers and community. “

NNNCo Founder and CEO Rob Zagarella said the trial was particularly relevant to infrastructure-rich organisations like utilities.

“This is about implementing a system to better monitor and manage existing assets in order to prevent issues and prolong the life of the asset.”

“The potential is to be smarter with the management of existing assets and reduce spend on new or replacement infrastructure,” Mr Zagarella added. “That has positive impacts for the utility as well as the broader community by reducing cost and environmental impacts.”

The trial uses a private carrier-grade LoRaWAN network installed by NNNCo on Hunter Water’s radio towers, providing secure connectivity from the devices through to analytics. The network has the potential to extend into the region’s public network in the future.

Mr Zagarella said, “This is a standards-based carrier-grade system, with built-in end-to-end security, that is ideally suited to IoT projects involving critical infrastructure. We see enormous potential for it to be applied to a wide range of use cases across asset-rich organisations.”

“I’m really pleased to see this trial get underway, which has been made possible through the collaboration of various sections of our business,” Mr Harris added.

“Intelligent networks will help transform the way we do business, driving better outcomes for our customers and community. If successful, we hope to expand it to other parts of our network and apply the learnings to future projects.”