SES Water Taps Vodafone NB-IoT to Reduce Water Leaks


Vodafone has signed a 10-year deal with SES Water to revolutionise how water leaks are detected and prevented. SES Water will use Vodafone’s Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology to create an intelligent water distribution network that aims to cut leakage by 15% over the next five years and pave the way for more than halving it by 2045.

In the UK alone, it is estimated that on average three billion litres of water is lost to leaks everyday – the equivalent of 1,268 Olympic swimming pools.

While SES Water has one of the lowest leakage records in the UK and has met its reduction target for the last 21 years, the company has set itself a challenging target to go further. The project, now underway across east Surrey, west Kent, West Sussex and south London, follows Vodafone’s smart water network pilot with South East Water last year.

Vodafone and SES Water have been working over the past few months with partners to install specialist digital water meters, sensors and acoustic loggers on underground mains water pipes.

These were then connected using Vodafone’s NB-IoT network, which operates within a very narrow radio band frequency enabling wider coverage and deeper penetration than traditional networks, so is perfect for use underground or within buildings.

Data will be collected and transmitted across the system, and advanced analytics will be used to monitor readings and alert SES Water immediately in the event of a leak, low pressure or other network abnormalities.

Acoustic loggers ‘listen’ for escaping water within the network to determine when leaks have occurred and to assist in pinpointing the precise location. Readings from smart meters will provide valuable insight into customer demand patterns so that SES Water can help customers to better manage their water usage, help reduce their bills and be alerted to leakage occurring on customers’ pipework before it can cause any damage.

Anne Sheehan, Director, Vodafone Business UK, said: “Internet of Things technology can make a real difference to the health of our planet. We are thrilled to be innovating with SES Water, helping to provide a more accurate and efficient way of identifying and preventing leaks.

“With World Environment Day today serving as a reminder of the importance of sustainability issues, we are delighted to share a great example of the pivotal role technology plays in preventing water wastage, and helping SES Water in improve the service they provide their customers, while also meeting important regulatory and environmental standards.”

Daniel Woodworth, SES Water’s Network Strategy Manager, said: “At SES Water we already have industry-leading leakage levels, but we want to do more. This collaborative project has been worked on for a number of months and will help us revolutionise how we detect and prevent water leaks – either our mains or our customers’ pipes – as soon as it occurs.

“In the future it could even enable us to predict and prevent pipeline failure before it happens. It will put our operational teams in a position of knowledge, not only enabling us to reduce the water we take from the natural environment but also further minimising interruptions to supply, and in doing so provide a gold standard service for our customers for many years to come.”