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Rapid Leak Detection


There are many ways to detect leaks. Most people translate leak-detection as pin-pointing the source of the loss down to its exact location. This is often done by means of a listening device, which is manually moved along the pipeline. But given the length of municipal distribution pipelines, often several 1.000 kilometers, one needs to know where to start, right?

Profile sm

Rapid Leak-Detection via Consumption Profiling

In order to locate the section of pipeline where the leak is located the creation of a consumption profile is the way to go.

An A733 RTU is connected to the pulse output of large bulk water meters, as they are usually built into pipelines both for control as well as invoicing purposes. These meters are continuously read, and every 15 minutes the sum of pulses is stored.

With these 15-minute sums the water provider has two very valuable pieces of information at hand:

  • At which time of the day how much water is needed.
  • What is the "night time low"?

The screen shot top left shows two graphs at the same time: while the purple line shows the level of the reservoir, as water is taken out and it is continuously being refilled, the blue line shows the water consumption in m³. The red line near the bottom indicates the standard night time low for this section.

For leak detection it''s exactly this night time low that counts. The night time low usually drops to the same level every night. Should all of a sudden the night time low be higher than normal this is good reason to watch. Maybe someone just filled his pool over night, or a fire had to be put out. Then the night time low will drop back to its usual level the next night. But if it stays at the elevated level, even for a third night, then there is a leak. A parallel shift in the night time low is an unmistakable sign for a leak in the amount of the shift. In the screen shot below you see a leak, that was immediately detected and repaired on day three. The green line indicates the normal nighttime low, the red line the new low after the leak.







Leak vs Burst

Detecting a pipeline burst is usually a matter of minutes. Some- one will call and say, "street gone, have lake instead", and the pressure in the pipeline will drop to a very low level. And that''s what it looks like in addVANTAGE Pro:


But it''s the small leaks that cause the trouble. Because losses of a few cubic meters per day don''t show on the surface. They only show on the monthly bill respectively in the production statistics, when comparing production to volume sold.

Detecting such a small leak usually takes many months. Experiences from Austrian and German water providers have shown that it takes on average 6-7 months to detect small leaks.

Cost of Water Loss

Water Losses

On one hand there is the water that''s lost in the ground. In a large distribution pipeline, usually pressurized with 10bar, a tiny leak of only 0.5mm² results in an annual loss of 250m³. But tiny leaks tend to grow. At 5mm² the water losses accumulate to more than 15.000m³ per year!

Wasted energy and excessive pump runtime

Even the water lost needs to be pumped. Pumping takes power, be it electricity, be it Diesel oil. Pumping wears down the pump and reduces its lifetime. And it takes a while to pump 15.000 m³!

Wasted chlorine and UV lamps

But the lost water not only needs to be pumped, it also needs to be purified for consumption, be it by chlorination, be it via UV lamps. It is again evident that less water loss means less wasted Chlorine and longer useful service lifetime of UV lamps.

The leak is getting bigger

...and will one day probably wash away the street, causing major traffic disruptions, cut off the population or the industry for several hours from its water supply, and can cause significantly higher cost than the repair of a minor leak.

The Adcon profiling station pays back really fast!
The experience gathered by our clients in recent years indicates that every station pays back it''s cost of purchase and installation really fast, often within the first year. Take a look at the success stories you can download from this page!


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Agricultural Risk Management
A short outline of benefits of Adcon systems regarding modern Agricultural Risk Management.

WLVNB - a success story
Eastern Austrias largest water supplier operates 250 long range Adcon RTUs for leak detection.

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Adcon Telemetry, Inkustrasse 24, A-3400 Klosterneuburg, Austria, Europe
Tel.: +43 2243 38280-0 Fax.: +43 2243 38280-6 e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Adcon Telemetry is a business unit of Ott Hydromet GmbH in Germany.