12 June 2020

Drone trial to help detect hidden leaks

Image: Supplied by Cardno

Hunter Water will trial innovative technology using a drone as part of its efforts to drive down leakage across its water network.

The drone with a thermal imaging camera attached will fly at night, scanning footpaths and under the road to detect hidden leaks.

Acting Executive Manager Service Delivery for Customers, Glen Robinson, said the trial would complement a range of initiatives already underway to help reduce water loss.

“Hunter Water takes leakage very seriously and we’re committed to doing everything we can to Love Water by finding and fixing leaks as quickly as possible.

“Leaks can sometimes be a precursor to a water main break. The sooner we find them, the sooner they can be fixed, minimising any potential impact on our customers and community."
Glen Robinson, Acting Executive Manager Service Delivery for Customers

“That’s why this drone trial is important for helping us detect those hard-to-find leaks. At this stage, the trial will be undertaken over a couple of nights in parts of Newcastle, Mayfield and Cameron Park between 15 and 30 June, weather permitting.

“By flying the drone at night when the weather is cooler, it will be easier to detect possible leaks using thermal imaging technology. Only the road and footpath will be surveyed, not private property.

“If successful, there may be more opportunities to use this technology in other parts of our 5,000 kilometre network in future.

“We also hope it can build on the various initiatives already underway to reduce water loss including our active leak detection program. We’ve surveyed our entire network this financial year and continue to invest in smart software such as TaKaDu to help prioritise our leak detection work,” said Mr Robinson.

Night drone: An example of what will be seen during the trial.

Drone trial

When: 15 – 30 June, weather permitting

Where: Parts of Newcastle, Mayfield and Cameron Park

Please see location maps below, with the areas to be surveyed highlighted in blue.