Satellite Spots Leaking Pipes

  • 05.10.2022
  • No Camels

Asterra, a startup in Israel, has developed cutting edge technology that identifies such leaks from radar images taken by satellites 600km (372 miles) above the Earth.

Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, it’s able not only to “see” water from space, but also to distinguish between drinking water, sewerage, and groundwater. It then alerts the water company, so it can find and fix the leak.

Asterra developed the technology in the search for underground water on Mars and other planets. Lauren Guy, the geophysicist and entrepreneur who headed the research team, quickly recognized that if it could work so far away, it could be even more effective here on Earth.

The scale of the problem here on Earth is immense. Spain loses 28 per cent of all its piped water to leaks. In Italy it’s 37 per cent. Malta is 42 per cent and Ireland is 47 per cent.

“There’s not a lot of point in taking raw water out of the ground, spending money treating it, and putting it into the system, only for it to leak back into the ground again,” Steve Baker, of Asterra, tells NoCamels.