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Using satellite data to reduce water leakage



Using satellite data to reduce water leakage

SatSense Ltd are excited to announce that we have recently secured a study with the European Space Agency (ESA) Space Solutions to help determine the risk of pipeline failure as a result of ground movement for water utilities in the UK.


The Project

The aim of the study is to demonstrate the feasibility of a predictive maintenance solution, where Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data is used in conjunction with other data to estimate the likelihood of pipeline failure due to ground movement.

The solution has the potential to help water utilities reduce maintenance costs, avoid leaks and environmental damage, meet regulatory requirements, and provide a better service to their customers.


The Pains and Gains

The water utility sector is heavily regulated by the Water Services Regulation Authority OFWAT, with significant fines or payments being awarded as part of the sector’s Outcome Delivery Incentives. Recently, the sector incurred £108 million of underperformance payments, of which £69 million was incurred for underperformance on leakage, supply interruptions, internal sewer flooding, and pollution incidents.


How it Works?

SatSense's proprietary InSAR algorithms, developed on the back of decades of R&D work by world-leading InSAR scientists Professors Andy Hooper and Tim Wright, are used to obtain millimetre-scale measurements of movements over the entire pipeline network. Working with water utilities, this information will be used as part of a toolset to allow water utility companies to make strategic decisions for selective replacement and maintenance of their networks.

CEO Dr. Matthew Bray was delighted with the contract award: “This ESA project presents an opportunity to develop a product the water industry is very excited about. It plays to our strengths of large-scale, high-quality data processing, smart analytics, and customer focus".

If you would like to know more about InSAR or discuss potential applications, please get in touch with the team here.



ESA Space Solutions is the go to place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life. ESA Space Solutions is designed to provide multiple entry points such as ESA Business Incubation Centres (ESA BICs), ESA Technology Broker Network, ESA Business Applications Ambassadors and ESA Business Applications programme. Funding typically ranges from 50k to 2M and supports everything from technology transfer, business incubation, Feasibility Studies to large-scale Demonstration Projects.