Waves with a sun in the distant background, indicating impact of heatwave on water networks

Are UK water companies prepared for another record-breaking summer?



Are UK water companies prepared for another record-breaking summer?

With global temperatures rising above 1.48 *C than the baseline target, 2023 was the warmest year in the past 174 years of observations. In the UK it was officially the second warmest year after 2022 (which was just 0.6 *C higher). With temperatures rising yearly at record rates, tensions loom around the water sector's ability to handle the record demand. And now with Met Office’s outlook for 2024 suggesting that it could be the hottest year for the UK so far, the question on everyone’s mind is: Are UK water utility companies truly prepared for the challenges a scorching 2024 summer may bring?

Climate Change: A Double-Edged Sword?

Climate change presents a double threat. Increased evaporation and household demand push water demand up, while erratic rainfall patterns and reduced snowfall shrink supply. This puts an immense strain on our water infrastructure. But it's not just water levels. Extreme heat and heavy downpours trigger erratic soil movement, leading to pipeline failures and damage to dams and reservoirs. This unseen threat can disrupt water supplies for entire communities. Traditional monitoring often struggles to keep pace with these rapid changes, resulting in reactive repairs after damage occurs. This is costly, time-consuming, and wastes precious water resources.

InSAR: Seeing the Unseen to Protect the Essential

InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) technology offers a powerful solution. This satellite-based technique utilises radar signals to scan the Earth's surface, enabling the detection of even the subtlest changes in ground and structural displacement with millimetre-year-level precision.

This allows water companies to proactively identify potential problems before they escalate into infrastructure failures. Think of it as an early warning system, pinpointing areas susceptible to pipeline breaks due to shifting soil and enabling targeted maintenance to prevent disruptions.

The DRIPIN Project: Putting InSAR into Action

SatSense's DRIPIN project supported by the European Space Agency integrates InSAR data into decision-making. SatSense uses advanced AI and ML techniques to analyse historical failure and movement data over the entire water utility network. When the learnings are plotted this allows water companies to prioritize and target preventative measures, optimizing resource allocation and maximizing efficiency. More information about the DRIPIN project is available at this link: Using InSAR data to predict pipe failures

From Reactive to Proactive: A Secure Water Future

By embracing InSAR, water utilities can move from reactive repairs to proactive, data-driven infrastructure management. This empowers them to:

• Guarantee resilient water supply: Minimize disruptions and safeguard water security even in the face of climate challenges.

• Optimize resource allocation: Prioritize maintenance efforts based on real-time data, saving time, money, and water.

• Future-proof their network: Make informed investment decisions based on accurate insights into potential vulnerabilities.

Investing in InSAR is an investment in a secure and sustainable water future. Don't wait for disaster to strike. Contact SatSense today to learn how DRIPIN can empower your water utility to thrive in a changing climate, email us at contact@satsense.com.