FIBRA: Integrated platform for the detection and location of water leakages

A project developed by Engineering for the location of water leakages, conduit-monitoring and geo-referenced pipeline detection in urban water-distribution networks.

FIBRA is an innovative, integrated system that combines several independent technologies and methodologies to locate water leakages. In particular, it includes the integration of hardware technologies (fibre Bragg grating fibre-optic multi-sensor, interrogator, low frequency transmitter and data concentrator) for distributed monitoring of dimensions relative to characteristic network operation (pressure, volume and acoustic vibrations), with advanced software tools (computational modules and tools) for analysing data acquired for the pre-location of leakages, both for new and existing piping.

The solution is structured on three levels, each of which will play a key role in the functioning of the entire system:

  • Field level; containing the operational sensors that will precisely capture the significant network performance indicators (pressure, volume and acoustic vibrations) in a distributed manner.
  • Communication level; containing the operative devices for transmitting data from the sensors to the control centre
  • Analysis level; located at the control centre, containing all the software for the advanced analysis of the data acquired and integrated with additional information available for locating the leakages, such as distribution network hydraulic simulation software.

A distinctly innovative aspect of the proposed system is the use of fibre-optic sensors with FBG (fibre Bragg grating) at water network access-points (hydrants, manholes...). These sensors have the advantage of contemporaneously detecting multiple hydraulic parameters sensitive to water leakages, enabling the supply-management body to achieve significant economic and time savings in terms of purchase and network-installation costs.

Moreover, at present there are no devices that automatically enable alarms to be triggered in real-time upon detection of a leak or to automatically identify it at the moment it occurs. The proposed solution, being based on fibre-optic sensors, enables a reduction in both electricity consumption and the associated problems of power-supply and environmental impact.

Engineering, as well as bringing its years of experience in co-ordinating R & D projects, provides superior levels of expertise and industry background in everything relating to infrastructures for the management of services, operations, data communication and analytics for the aggregation, processing and reporting of data generated by the sensors.