Household leak detection bot trialled in UK

LeakBot from Ondo can prevent unnecessary water wastage.

An innovative technology that can find leaks within people's homes - and send an alert to their phone - is being trialled by UK utility South West Water.

The water company will be sending 6,000 LeakBots out to customers in Devon and Cornwall next month, as part of a trialled approach to reduce leaks. The trial will run for six months and, if successful, could be rolled out more widely to tackle customer leaks head-on.

"With around 30% of leaks now typically found on customers’ own properties, we really need the help of our customers."

David Harris, South West Water

LeakBots are small smart devices which help identify internal leaks within customers’ properties. The LeakBot can be clipped onto a water pipe near the customer’s internal stop-tap to detect whether there is a constant flow of water within the property, even when no taps are running.

In the event of this being detected, the LeakBot sends an instant alert to the customer’s smartphone. If a leak is detected and the customer is unable to find and fix it, LeakBot can send out an engineer to undertake the repair, free of charge.

LeakBot is clipped onto a household pipe near the stop-tap.

David Harris, South West Water’s drought and resilience director, said, “We’re always looking at new and innovative ways of reducing leakage across the region, alongside more traditional methods. With around 30% of leaks now typically found on customers’ own properties, we really need the help of our customers.

"LeakBot will enable customers to detect leaks so that they can be fixed quickly. We’re excited to see the impact LeakBot will have.”

The trial is part of South West Water’s work to reduce leaks in the area and is part of a new campaign to support customers in becoming more water efficient. South West Water is finding and fixing more leaks than ever before – around 2,000 per month.

Some of the innovative techniques being used include satellites to find water leaks two metres underground, drone pilots to cover hard-to-reach places across Dartmoor and Exmoor, and even specially trained leak detection dogs, which can find leaks in challenging terrain.

Craig Foster, chief executive of Ondo, the company behind LeakBot, said, “Previous trials of LeakBot have achieved a 60% reduction in water leaks within the home. A roll-out with South West Water will allow us to help prevent unnecessary wastage through domestic leaks across the region.

"We look forward to working on the deployment of the initial 6,000 devices and seeing the results.”