Meet Charlie Whitelegg

Email: [email protected]

Academic and Industrial affiliations: The University of Sheffield, Scottish Water

Title of research project: Unlocking the potential of hydraulic transients as a source of information about water distribution networks

A significant amount of water is lost in UK distribution systems as a result of leakage. With an increasing population and the added environmental pressures of climate change, managing our water resources is becoming more important. One aspect of water management is the reduction of leakage, a necessary element of which is leakage detection and localisation. Acoustic methods are currently the most popular for this purpose, however they have a reduced applicability in plastic pipelines due to low levels of acoustic transmission. An alternative method of leak detection more suited for plastic pipelines is the use of pressure transients. Pressure transients are generated in water distribution systems as a result of rapid changes in the velocity of water (e.g. pump failures and sudden valve operations).

Currently transient based methods aren’t commonly used in industry, largely as a result of system noise and unknown system configurations. This project aims to investigate new methods of analysing transient data which are capable of correctly mapping pipelines and reducing system noise. Once developed, this method will be validated in real distribution systems to detect and locate the presence of leakage.