Scottish Water saves £2m in year with predictive technology

UK News | Published:

It is estimated the innovative programme, being used at 110 sites across Scotland, will save the utility firm £4.1m by 2021.

New technology predicting where and when water bursts are likely to happen saved Scottish Water £2 million last year.

By looking at the cause and effect of previous bursts and their locations, as well as customers contacting the utility firm in the event of a burst, the system works out where future incidents might occur.

A special team has been monitoring transients – short-lived pressure waves – in the network caused by shocks and gathered historical data to improve results.

Scott Young, the leakage delivery team leader based in Edinburgh, hopes the work can continue across the UK, with Scottish Water currently the country’s only utility using such technology.

He said: “This work was critical as it led us to a real understanding of how the network operates.

“We can see where transients occur, how they travel through the network, what speed they travel at.

“This knowledge puts us at the leading edge of the water industry. We have already started sharing our findings across the UK, with others looking to replicate what Scottish Water is doing.


“It could also affect how we could approach things like investment in the future.”

He added: “In the past, with frequently occurring bursts, we might have replaced the pipes.

“But if we’re not shocking the network, they won’t be under the same pressure and may not even need to be replaced.”

The technology is being used at 110 sites across Scotland with an average reduction of 81% in each area.


Each burst costs £1,400 and with more than 2,500 prevented so far, there has been an initial £2 million saving.

It is estimated the technology could save Scottish Water £4.1 million by 2021.

Scottish Water
Scott Young, right, helps investigate a potential leakage (Scottish Water/PA)

“That lets us rule out one cause of bursts and get to the true reasons for them if they occur in these areas.

“There are lots of opportunities for Scottish Water to explore.”

He added: “This was very much a labour of love and being involved in the five years from start to finish was fascinating.

“To see how this developed from an idea to a pioneering tool which has transformed how we deal with potential bursts – saving time, money and energy – has been incredible.

“It is great our customers are benefiting from this- as bursts can cause a lot of inconvenience.”

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