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SA Water embraces AI to thwart leaks

SA Water is partnering with a technology firm to use data analytics, artificial intelligence and satellites to improve water services across the state.

The partnership with the Stone & Chalk Startup Hub at Lot Fourteen in Adelaide will also explore the use of predictive modelling to conserve water across household use, irrigation, and commercial activities. In addition, SA Water will consider the use of space technology to monitor infrastructure and identify leaks in real time.

SA Water General Manager Strategy, Engagement and Innovation Anna Jackson said that leveraging the outside-in innovation model by partnering with emerging technology startups and scale-ups would drive organisational transformation enabling SA Water to maintain and improve its services.

“Innovation in SA Water flows into the entire state economy," she said.

"Every person and every business in this state has a stake in the future of our water system, from irrigators and local governments to households and industries. The broad and deep emerging technology capabilities that will be accessed through our partnership with Stone & Chalk will help us secure a sustainable, resilient and affordable water service.”

SA Water said that smart sensors and meters will help detect leaks in parts of the water network as well as odour and blockages in the sewer network. The aim of this work is to gain better insight into its infrastructure, to limit the impact and frequency of any faults on our customers.

It already uses AI technology for energy generation and weather forecast data analysis, as well as to optimise operating schedules for various treatment plants and pump stations, and to map out the most effective travel routes for field crews to make the best use of resources.

Minister for the Environment and Water David Speirs said the partnership with the innovation hub is a smart way to help further reduce the impact of water main leaks and breaks, as well as support South Australians to continue using water more effectively and efficiently.

“Combining SA Water’s knowledge and experience of the state’s water network with Stone & Chalk’s technological capabilities and insight will provide benefits to the community, economy and the state’s entrepreneurs,” he said.

SA Water said that it plans to expand its use of AI in the future, including further application in areas like asset performance, bushfire risk management, water supply and demand modelling, and customer experience.