The civic body will soon shift to a modern method of detecting leaks in the city’s water supply network, thereby doing away with the age-old method of detecting leaks in water pipelines through “sounding mukadams”.
At present, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sends its “sounding mukadams” with a sounding rod to detect leakages in water pipes situated below the road network. The new technology will involve the use of a sound unit, including an amplifier, that will be placed on the road. The machine will then mute all background noise, and capture only the sound of water flow.
“The sound will be amplified and one can easily detect if the water is not flowing smoothly and the pipe has a leak,” said Ramesh Bamble, chief engineer of the civic hydraulic department.
While a tender to invite companies for the new technology is yet to be floated, the BMC has already tested the “acoustic” technology of two companies.
“We have to finalise the finer details of the tender and then invite other similar companies to express interest,” said Bambale. “The technology will be finalised and adopted within the next six months,” he added.
At present, the mukadams tap the sounding rod on the ground over a buried pipeline to detect the exact point of the leakage. They place their ear on the other end of the rod. The vibration due to the leak is detected by the rod and converted into a specific sound, which tends to be continuous. This method is mostly used in non-peak hours, as there is less background noise from traffic, said civic officials.
Of the 3,500 million litres of water that is supplied to the city every day, nearly 700 million litres is either lost to leakages or stolen. The total demand for water in the city is estimated to be around 4,200 million litres daily.
The Rs 250-crore water distribution improvement programme includes assessing demand for water, survey of existing pipelines and other assets of the hydraulic department, GIS mapping of all pipelines, identifying deficiencies in the water supply network, streamlining the existing water supply system by plugging leakages, setting up call centres for customer relationship management, quality assurance through solving water contamination complaints and to ensure that water supply is compliant with national standards of quality check.