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Accurate pressure modulation – the key to leakage control

02 September 2010

For the past 20 years, Aquavent has been researching and developing devices to reduce leakage from mains water supply infrastructures. As a result of this effort, the company is now able to offer a product that can reliably manage pressure within the mains network, and thereby achieve substantial leakage reductions. Les Hunt reports

The problem of water leakage from our water supply network is well documented. A recent national newspaper headline proclaimed that our water supply system leaks enough water to supply 22 million people every day. But in terms of leakage management, the UK is actually a global leader, despite this estimated loss, which in plain figures amounts to nearly 4,000 million litres per day.

Despite these mind-boggling statistics, the UK’s reputation for effective water leakage control is well founded and has largely been gained from ground-breaking research work and innovative product development. To this latter category must be added the Aquai-Mod hydraulic flow modulator, the result of a five-year development project by the Peterborough based company, Aquavent. The product is based on the well established fact that demand-related pressure control can have a very significant leakage reduction outcome.

Powered entirely by the flow through the pressure relief valve to which it is retrofitted, Aquai-Mod provides both pressure and flow monitoring, subsequently optimising conditions within the pipeline by increasing or decreasing pressure according to the demand levels – and all this is achieved entirely without the need for electronic control devices. It is also worth noting that lower stable pressures also reduce the frequency of burst mains and services.

While the control method is very simple, successful modulation can only take place if the modulator mechanism is responsive to small changes in inlet pressures - typically plus or minus 0.5m, which simple spring-loaded diaphragm pilot valves are incapable of achieving. Aquai-Mod’s design ensures continuous modulation even at these small pressure changes. The accuracy of modulation is also impressive, judging from recent data monitoring exercises on real installations, which show the inlet pressure following the desired outlet pressure under perfect control. Aquavent managing director, Mark Lock says that on some installations, Aquai-Mod has reduced leakage rates by as much as 450,000 litres per day.

Aquai-Mod is registered on The Water Technology List backed by DEFRA and HMRC, because of the proven water savings (it has been independently tested by Wrc-NSF), so it attracts discounts via the Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme.

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