Water is one of the most valuable commodities in modern society. One of the biggest challenges is the efficient and safe transport of clean fresh drinking water from where it is produced to the individual consumers – usually through extensive pipe networks. In the UK pipe leakage accounted for at least 20% water loss. Hence there is a real need to develop an effective low cost technology to monitor pipeline leakage. The collaborative solution proposed for this PhD is based on the integration of three Earth Observation derived inputs: soil moisture, NDVI (Normalised Difference Vegetation Index) and Surface Deformation via Synthetic Aperture Radar interforemetry processing. This data is provided along with training by the CASE partner Rezatec Ltd based in the Space Satellite Catapult in Harwell (UK). Fundamental to the PhD project will be the technical challenge of finding accurate and timely correlation of the combined satellite data layers with pipeline leakage. Not only would this technology be used in the UK but it has world-wide applications for the detection of water pipeline leaks – saving billions of gallons of freshwater. The methods can also be applied to subsidence detection for major infrastructure such as rail and road networks, improving their safety.
Policy Impact of Research:
If a remote sensing based low cost technology can be developed to monitor pipeline leakages it will enable water companies and Government agencies to save billions of gallons of freshwater every year. Cutting down on total water use, environment disturbance and saving money. The methods can also be applied to subsidence detection for major infrastructure such as rail and road networks, improving their safety.