Source Water Protection: The Role of Leak Detection

September 26, 2021
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ASTERRA is joining the American Water Works Association (AWWA) to mark the first ever Source Water Protection Week from September 26, 2021 to October 2, 2021. Protecting source water is at the heart of ASTERRA’s mission to preserve finite resources. 

What Does ASTERRA Do?

ASTERRA develops technology that lets managers and policymakers reduce waste and make the world more sustainable by revealing problems and inefficiencies in need of correction. Many problems and inefficiencies relate to water leaks and infrastructure weaknesses. By seeing the soil moisture below the Earth’s surface and being able to differentiate types of water to understand their properties and sources, ASTERRA replaces speculation and predictive leak detection analysis with facts. In this way, intelligence replaces prediction.

ASTERRA’s satellite-based leak detection technology uses ground-penetrating synthetic aperture radar (SAR) to locate and analyze underground soil moisture around and beneath critical infrastructure. ASTERRA examines moisture accumulating around fresh and wastewater delivery systems. This includes under railways, roads, and other paved surfaces, and near earthen dams, levees, and under hillsides. The satellite data gathered is processed and analyzed through ASTERRA’s patented algorithm and delivered to planners, engineers, and policymakers as hard intelligence, which is used to make data-informed decisions on the pipe repair, maintenance, and long-term planning for above and below-ground infrastructure. 

Only ASTERRA can see the moisture below the surface to deliver hard data, not predictive or theoretical analysis. ASTERRA technology took protecting water from a guessing game to a science. And they do it without the cost of sensors or ground crews digging holes. With a single satellite pass, ASTERRA can observe and analyze up to 3,500 sq. km. — more than 1,300 sq. miles. This is an area larger than most major cities. The synthetic aperture radar penetrates clouds, forests, and even pavement, and differentiates treated water, wastewater, and groundwater to determine its source. The information is delivered in a format that’s easy to view through all standard geographic information system (GIS)-based platforms.

Leak Detection and Resolution

ASTERRA’s Impact Calculator shows water utilities everywhere the impact they can impart by finding and repairing leaking pipes. ASTERRA contributes to the 3 of 17 goals set forth by the United Nations, all related to sustainable global development. ASTERRA also contributes to the goal of taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Climate change from rising CO2 levels is projected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, and floods. ASTERRA’s L-Band SAR analytics help customers identify leaks so they can be repaired, lowering the excess electricity used to pump and treat the water (as well as associated CO2).

Since the average leak remains underground and unreported for 18 months (per AWWA), rapid leak detection and resolution are of critical importance. Then, any environmental damage can be viewed and addressed. Resolution of leaks protects source water and saves water, CO2, and electricity.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also committed to protecting source water. On the EPA website linked here, there are numerous resources, including opportunities to use public funding to protect sources of drinking water.

Clients around the world are using ASTERRA to save potable water, CO2, and money. Within the United States, New Braunfels Utilities in Texas saved over $609,000, all while creating efficiencies and improvements in their leak detection and resolution processes. 

Learn More

Follow @ASTERRAtech on Twitter to learn more about source water protection.  Join us in preserving the earth’s finite resources. 

Please contact us to learn more about ASTERRA’s solutions.

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