DUBAI - Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has utilised innovation and the latest disruptive technologies in detecting leaks in the water transmission underground pipelines. This helped DEWA save 243 million gallons of water and AED9.66 million in 2023.

DEWA's Smart Ball technology detects leaks that are usually difficult to detect using traditional techniques. Since its utilisation in April 2021 and until the end of 2023, the Smart Ball technology detected 81 leaks in the water transmission network in Dubai.

This technology reduces operational expenses, as small cracks in the water transmission pipelines are treated before they increase in size and cause further water wastage.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, said that DEWA relies on the latest tools to anticipate the future, sound scientific planning, and seamless, swift, and effective smart grid operation. This ensures the sustainability of water resources in line with the Dubai Integrated Water Resource Management Strategy 2030.

DEWA utilises the smart grid to develop state-of-the-art infrastructure for managing facilities and services using disruptive and Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies. These include AI, drones, blockchain technology, Internet of Things (IoT), among others.

DEWA monitors and controls the water network in Dubai remotely around the clock using the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems. In 2023, DEWA launched its third phase of SCADA systems.

He added, "This enables us to monitor the water network in Dubai remotely around the clock, including the water transmission pipelines, pumping stations and reservoirs sprawling over 3,000 kilometres. This has been achieved by installing over 10,000 smart devices. DEWA is currently implementing the District Metering Areas (DMA) at the distribution level and regularly expanding the transmission network and key distribution assets."

Abdullah Obaidullah, Executive Vice President of Water and Civil at DEWA, said the Smart Ball system consists of a small diameter sphere with a highly sensitive acoustic sensor inserted into the water network, where the water flow drives it. It detects sounds generated by leaks and identifies gas pockets or anomalies with unique characteristics.

Once the Smart Ball is extracted, the compiled data is analysed by software using mathematical algorithms showing the precise location of leaks, gas pockets, or anomalies. The Smart Ball travels freely inside the transmission pipes at around 3 kilometres per hour and can inspect over 35 kilometres in one day without affecting the water flow.

DEWA has achieved competitive results that surpass prominent European and American companies in terms of efficiency and reliability. In 2022, water network losses were reduced to 4.5% compared to around 15% in North America.