NAWASA's Leak Detection Programme

History

Leak Detection is best described as a proactive strategy to reduce water loss by the detection of invisible leaks using specialized equipment followed by the prompt repair of leaks.

The history of NAWASA's Leak Detection Programme has its inception during the 1980's during the Central Water Commission. Leak detection exercises were conducted for a limited period and was not thorough enough to conclude on a percentage of non-revenue water (NRW).

The re-emergence of the Leak Detection Programme came with the implementation component of the Southern Grenada Water Supply Project, which saw the rehabilitation of six (6) Treatment plants (Annandale, Mardi Gras, Les Avocats, Windsor Forest, Petit Etang and Mamma Cannes) during the period 02 June 2009, and 01 December 2010.

Old and defective pipelines, poorly maintained valves, earth movements, traffic vibrations, mechanical damage and human factors are some of the factors contributing to leakage. Leak detection has historically assumed that most leaks rise to the surface and are visible, but there are many leaks which continue below the surface for long periods of time and remain undetected. These are the type of leaks that contribute greatly to NRW.

Benefits of NAWASA's Leak Detection Programme

  • Improved operational efficiency and reduce operational cost.
  • Lowered water system operational costs.
  • Reduced potential for contamination.
  • Extended life of lines and fittings.
  • Reduced potential property damage and water system liability.
  • Reduced water outage events/valve regulation.
  • Improved public relations.
  • Increased knowledge of the distribution system.

Successes

The Authority's Leak Detection Unit can attest to accurate location and speedy repairs of leaking water pipes in its supply system, thus, reducing our water loss or NRW by approximately 10-15%. Because the leaks are found with great accuracy, the Authority has seen significant reduction in the costs associated with road reinstatement.

Limitations

  • The frequency at which new bursts and leaks occur depends upon the overall condition of the infrastructure and how well the pressure is managed.
  • Dependent upon the specific ground type, there will always be some proportion of leaks and bursts that do not appear on the surface.
  • The leak detection activity is time consuming in that we can address only two leaks in a given day.
  • Where there are multiple leaks in the same area efficiency in their repair are compromised.
  • Loud noise and vibrations severely affect leak detection
  • Leaks at depths exceeding 6 feet are difficult to identify
  • Electrical and magnetic fields in the area can affect leak identification

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