One of the main causes of water shortage around the globe is leaks, with 20 to 30 percent of water lost in systems. Fortunately, this simple problem can be fixed with a solution that involves the use of sound.

As published by the American Society of Civil Engineers, a new instrument called a noise logger can identify leaks with efficiency and near perfect accuracy. This would help prevent water contamination and the water scarcity that will affect 33 percent of the global population in 2025, as predicted by the International Water Management Institute.

“This approach can reduce the duration of a leak, as well as the cost and time involved in locating the site in need of repair,” says co-author Tarek Zayed, a professor in the Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering at Concordia University in Montreal.

water shortage

Water leak is among the causes of water shortage around the world. Credit: SmartThings

Workers need to be exact when identifying water leaks. Usually, trying to repair this problem would mean spending money on excavation and resurfacing, all of which can be wasted with an incorrect detection of water leaks.

Moreover, this repair process would also impact traffic, disrupting commuters’ routine and even causing business loss. The new tool can help prevent these problems

The researchers tested the noise loggers in Qatar University in Doha, Qatar. About 30 to 35 percent of water is lost due to leakage in the country.

Apart from this, Qatar has one of the lowest precipitation and highest evaporation rates in the world. In other words, the country experiences little rain but when it does, the rain falls as rapidly as it evaporates.

The research team equipped Qatar University’s main water network with the noise loggers. These recorded the sound of the leaks for more than two hours.

Over the course of the trial, the team analysed sounds from 140 different points. They calculated the exact location of these leaks with 99.5 percent accuracy.

The researchers are planning to test the tool in bigger areas. They aim to use the noise loggers in municipalities inflicted with water shortage.