World first: SkyCam satellite image analysis technology keeps watchful eye on Australia’s water infrastructure

In a world-first initiative, Veolia has developed SkyCam satellite image analysis technology to proactively monitor and prevent blockages in Australia’s underground sewer networks.

Using API services developed by UK based Digital Content Analysis Technology (D-CAT), Veolia built an algorithm to pre-empt one of the nation’s most common causes of sewer blockages: tree roots.

The sophisticated satellite technology works by using image analysis to track the growth of vegetation surrounding underground water networks.

When trees begin to grow or show signs of additional nutrients, the algorithm alerts Veolia of a likely broken underground sewer network pipe, where sewage access could be aiding trees’ growth.

Veolia is then able to swiftly investigate and repair any broken underground pipes, eliminating the likely scenario of root blockages occurring if left unattended.

Richard Kirkman, Veolia’s Chief Executive Officer, said the initiative is a game changer for underground network service maintenance that will significantly reduce costly network disruptions.

“Issues in the underground water network system had typically only been detectable when blockages had already occurred. Now, we can proactively identify high-risk locations for potential network disruptions and prevent them before they take place.

“This technology will save councils and taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in repair costs, which can now be spent in other areas of need,” he said.

“The use of satellite-based technologies does not stop at the detection of blockages. We’ve also developed a range of applications to monitor soil movement, keep a watchful eye on landslide prevention, detect bushfire prone zones, and measure leaking water from water mains.

“This world-first approach will revolutionise the water sector, so that we can better protect supply, prevent climate issues and drive ecological transformation, by preventing unnecessary water loss before it occurs,” he said.

Veolia and D-CAT have now entered into a mutually exclusive Teaming Agreement with the intent to extend the technology across Veolia’s global client base.

Phil McLachlan, D-CAT’s Chief Executive Officer, said that together the companies will develop new services within water management, bringing new opportunities to preserve the planet,

“D-CAT’s exclusive teaming with Veolia is a definitive step in the delivery of our proven satellite-derived monitoring, reporting and verification services across the water industry, worldwide. We are delighted and privileged to be collaborating with the global leader in the water industry.

“Over the coming years, D-CAT looks forward to maximising the potential of our collaboration to the sustainable benefit of Veolia and its water utility clients globally”

The Teaming Agreement will run for an initial period of 3 years.

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