Satellite Imaging to Help Midland Detect Water Leaks
The city partnered with Asterra, a California-based company, to use its satellite imaging technology to identify and address water leakages within its distribution network.
City leaders approved $212,000 in costs for Asterra of La Jolla, Calif., to perform satellite water leak detection for the city of Midland utilities department.
The program will find leaks underground from city pipelines and on the customer side, Utilities Director Carl Craigo said, adding that there will be two scans, five months apart.
"This project aims to leverage advanced satellite imaging technology to identify and address water leakages within the city’s water distribution network, ultimately reducing water loss and optimizing resource utilization," Craigo wrote in a city document. "By utilizing high-resolution satellite imagery and advanced data analytics, the project aims to provide accurate and real-time information on water leakages, enabling prompt repairs and substantial water conservation."
Project benefits would include:
- Water conservation: Early detection of water leaks will enable swift remedial action, significantly reducing water loss and associated costs.
- Cost efficiency: By addressing leaks proactively, the city of Midland can minimize maintenance expenses, operational inefficiencies and potential infrastructure damage caused by undetected leaks.
- Improved service: Timely repairs and preventive maintenance will enhance the reliability and efficiency of the water distribution system, ensuring uninterrupted service to the community.
- Environmental impact: By conserving water resources, the project aligns with sustainable practices and contributes to the city’s environmental stewardship goals.
- Data-driven insights: The project will provide valuable data and insights into the water distribution system, aiding in long-term planning, infrastructure improvements and leak prevention strategies.
The Midland City Council packet includes information that states Asterra provides customers with leak detection monitoring for drinking and wastewater systems by using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) signals from satellites to illuminate the area of interest and collect the resulting reflected signals.
"These signals are analyzed with the Asterra patented algorithm and processed to identify specific indicators of wet soil saturated with potable or wastewater, screening out the signal noise and other interference," a report stated. "The result is a map showing likely leak locations or points of interest."
Craigo previously told the Midland Reporter-Telegram that city of Midland water customers are, on average, using 30 million gallons of water a day in 2023. He added that the average is around 34 million gallons of water a day during the summer, with the increase because of lawn watering taking place. Water use has peaked at more than 40 million gallons this summer.
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