New app to help cut illegal water abstraction across London
Drainage solution provider Lanes Utilities has developed an app which it hopes will greatly reduce the risk of illegal water abstraction...
LONDON, UK – Drainage solution provider Lanes Utilities has developed an app which it hopes will greatly reduce the risk of illegal water abstraction.
The app pinpoints 130,000 abstraction points across the Thames Water region and key neighbouring areas, providing a platform for water utilities to monitor and charge for abstraction in real time.
Taking 12 months to develop, it is also hoped the app will improve leak detection and reduce the policing of illegal abstractions.
Across the UK, wastewater maintenance contractors abstract mains water needed for sewer and drainage system cleaning tasks tens of thousands of times every day.
Abstraction licences are agreed locally with water companies. However, accurate maps of approved hydrants and wash out points are not made available. If the wrong ones are used, including ones owned by a neighbouring water provider, wastewater companies invariably face heavy fines.
Early in 2016, Lanes Utilities started working with utility Thames Water colleagues to obtain data about hydrant and wash out assets. This was the first major challenge because the information hadn't been stored in a way that was easy to access.
The location and status of each abstraction asset had to be verified by physically checking it, and assessing whether it could be reached by a jet vac tanker or a van pack unit.
Thousands of photographs, uploaded to FieldViewer by Lanes wastewater engineers when they abstracted water, could also be used. Each image contained the hydrant's GPS coordinates and revealed which water company owned it through a system of colour-coding.
Once this rough data set was gathered together, the company had to place the right information about the 130,000 hydrants, line by line, on a spreadsheet, ready to be uploaded onto the app.
They used this data to create a trial version of the app, so they could test it in the field, as they worked with FieldViewer's design and coding team over several months to fully develop its functionality.
Andy Brierley, director of Lanes Utilities, said: "This is a very exciting development, because it provides a solution for one of the major risks and problems faced by all wastewater maintenance specialists.
Lanes Utilities is now rolling out the water abstraction app on its FieldViewer digital operational platform, developed by Techfinity, to support its wastewater network services contract for Thames Water.