Yorkshire Water to break world record for… acoustic ears?

The utility aims to install 34,000 auditory devices into its underground pipe network to listen out for leaks

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Leaking pipe

Yorkshire Water is to install 34,000 ‘acoustic ears’ into its underground pipe network to listen out for leaks.

In a bid to save millions of litres of water dripping away, the utility will spend £10 million on installing the sound devices – it says this will help meet a target to reduce leakage by 15% by 2020, moving up to 25% by 2025.

The devices work by recording continuously and sending an alert if they hear a change in water flow.

In trials, 600 of the ‘ears’ helped identify 35 underground leaks in one month, saving approximately 86,400 litres of water from draining away.

The firm hopes to put the rest of the devices into place by October this year, covering a fifth of its distribution area.

It says this will mean it has a total of 40,000 ‘acoustic ears’ installed and claims this is more than any other water company in the world.

Martyn Hattersley, Head of Leakage Operations at Yorkshire Water, said: “Each ‘acoustic ear’, or logger, is capable of identifying a leak within a 150-metre radius, which is much more accurate than current technology allows.

“It will give us a much greater understanding and visibility of what is happening in some of the areas most prone to leaks. By installing these devices we will help our Leakage Technicians save millions of litres of water being wasted which will improve our water sustainability and reduce roadwork impact on customers.”