Soon, the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) will deploy two novel technologies to detect leakage points and water theft along its main pipeline between Aluva and Thammanam.

The KWA board, which discussed the unique proposal recently, plans to use a smart ball to spot the leaks along the eight-kilometre stretch of the 42-inch main pipeline between Toshiba junction near Kalamassery and Padivattom.

The second technology, which comprises a sensor providing real-time results, will be deployed along the three-kilometre stretch between Pookattupadi junction and LuLu mall. This tool shoots videos of the pipe interiors and comprises a small drag chute that uses the flow of water to draw the sensor through the pipeline, recording visuals on the way.

Senior KWA officials said the decision to experiment with the technologies comes following severe water loss along its main pipe line from Aluva to Thammanam. According to a study by the Non-Revenue Water Management Unit of the KWA in Ernakulam in December, Kochiites are receiving only about 50 per cent of the total production at the Aluva water treatment daily. Besides distribution loss and water theft, un-identified leaks were a major reason for water loss in the district, it said.

As per the proposal before the board, the smart ball will have an instrument-filled aluminium alloy core capable of detecting and locating very small leaks and air pockets in pipelines. It could be inserted into a pipeline to travel with the water and collect information on leakage points.

The tool calculates the locations of leaks by detecting acoustic pulses emitted by the ball at receivers attached to pipe appurtenances. The locations of the leaks relative to the receiver positions are determined by analysing arrival times of the pulses.

It will also provide information on water theft along the line. The ball travels with the water flow for up to 12 hours, collecting information about leaks over many miles of pipeline.

Its acoustic sensor passes through the entire length of pipe being surveyed. The sensor can clearly discern the acoustic activity associated with leaks. This data is processed to report the presence and location of leaks. The second tool to be deployed between the transmission line between Pookattupadi junction and LuLu mall will detect leaks and structural defects.

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