By means of innovation, new technologies and thorough search methods, the Greater Copenhagen Utility has brought water loss in the capital of Denmark down to a minimum.

HOFOR – Greater Copenhagen Utility – uses a cross-cutting approach to monitor the old pipe network in Copenhagen for leaks. In so doing, the utility has succeeded in reducing the NRW level from 9 percent to 5 percent.

This result is especially remarkable because 65 percent of the water pipes in Copenhagen are from before 1945, 30 percent are older than 100 years and 70 percent of the pipes are made of cast iron.

HOFOR is one of the world leaders in reducing leakage thanks to how the utility combines multiple technologies and methods. These include noise loggers and advanced microphones, meters installed at every customer, staff skill development programmes as well as DMA (sectioning).

Routine area sweeps

But first and foremost, in-depth knowledge on system conditions is vital. For instance, HOFOR reviews the entire pipe network of the capital every third year. Leaks are identified by listening to carefully selected valves in strategic places with advanced sound detecting equipment.

Furthermore, usage of data from routine maintenance is also a part of the renovation strategy. In that way, Greater Copenhagen Utility can repair damages in time and thereby avoid massive water losses. This is crucial in some areas of the old city, where the 100-year old streets risk collapsing if a leak beneath the pavement is not identified and fixed in time.

That is why noise loggers have been installed in such high-risk areas of the city. The loggers work as permanent microphones which deliver data every day and indicate possible leaks on a map.

Innovation as a cornerstone

To achieve an intelligent water pipe system, utilities need hardware and software technology, investment programmes as well as operational experiences. All of these elements are parts of an overall system to manage the utility in an intelligent way.

One of the main reasons HOFOR has one of the world’s lowest NRW levels is that the utility has always participated in innovation projects with the purpose of connecting knowledge and operation.