Space satellites, drones and public support are helping Northumbrian Water to reduce leakage from its water network.

The company has now set a reduced target to take its battle against leakage even further, having utilised a wide range of methods to achieve its latest figures.

Northumbrian Water has cut leakage from 137.05Mld (megalitres per day) in 2017/18 to 136.26Mld in 2018/19, a reduction equivalent to approximately 120 Olympic swimming pools per year.

Among the tools used to achieve the latest results, which are released today (Friday) in an update to the industry-wide Discover Water website, are space satellites – using the same technology that helps search for water on other planets to find leaks here on Earth.

The company has also utilised drone technology and launched a Leakage Portal that allows members of the public to report leaks they spot and keep track of Northumbrian Water’s work to fix the problem.

Northumbrian Water’s Innovation Festivals have also seen data experts from a wide range of companies searching through tens of gigabits of information from a wide range of sources to look for new ways to tackle leakage. Outcomes have included an innovative method of identifying hot spots, which can then be used to prioritise target areas where the biggest impact upon leakage can be made. This is already being implemented in Essex, where Northumbrian Water supplies water through Essex & Suffolk Water.

The results come hot on the heels of Northumbrian Water being named by the Environment Agency as the only four star water company in its Environmental Performance Assessment, released earlier this month.

Eliane Algaard, Northumbrian Water’s Water Director, said: “We have set ourselves a target of reducing leakage from our water network by 17.5% by 2025.

“These latest figures show we have already made significant strides towards achieving this, by looking at any and all possible methods – no matter how out of this world they may be – and putting more resources into hunting down and repairing leaks.

“The support of our customers through the leakage portal, letting us know when they spot a leak, has also been brilliant, adding thousands of pairs of eyes to the work we do to find leaks, so we can fix them.

“However positive the latest figures are, we will continue to use existing and new ways of finding and sorting leaks, to continue to drive down the leakage of this very valuable resource.”

The increased targets are part of Northumbrian Water’s business plan for 2020-2025.