Lincoln Road is one of the busiest regional arterial roads in West Auckland and is identified as a ‘growth corridor’ due to growth in traffic volumes generated by future developments. Lincoln North Mall is a multi-use shopping centre located at 111 Lincoln Road, Henderson. The Mall is a combination of individual buildings comprising retail outlets and restaurants.
Detection Services were approached by their client to support investigations into unauthorised fire main usage at Lincoln Mall. The client had performed initial investigations and the numbers did not add up. The large volume of consumers with unexpected low usage pointed to inaccurate apparent losses such as illegal connections, and inaccurate metered usage all leading to revenue loss. They also wanted to reduce the risk to public health by unauthorised connections to the network and possible contamination.
Lincoln Mall shopping precinct featured an individual metered connection and individual fire service connection with the fire main exposed and accessible. Traditionally unmetered fire services are a large contributor of non-revenue water (NRW) loss and until now have been extremely difficult to monitor or detect intermittent use without costly and intrusive methods.
This has now changed with the Flow.Watch technology providing an advanced solution, enabling identification and mitigation of NRW losses. Flow.Watch combines advanced temperature analysis with advanced telemetry options to identify and categorise fire supply flow into leakage, test use and intermittent use. It’s versatile, simple to install with remote setup and provides a non-restrictive alternative to metering. With data transmitted via economical cellular telemetry, the requirement for expensive site visits and ‘drive by’ data collection is removed. Detection Services monitored usage in the fire main utilising Flow.Watch technology using two thermistors to cross reference changes in temperature on the pipe with ambient temperature, identifying flow events.
Detection Services initial investigations seemed to point towards low to no usage on the fire main, however Flow.Watch technology allowed us to remove ambient impact on the pipe temperature and show that there was daily systematic use of the fire main.
The temperature would remain constant during the day, indicative of flow use. The temperature would then rise and follow the ambient pattern due to minimal and occasional usage events during nighttime periods. This constant pattern of daily use through the fire main identified high volumes of non-revenue water consumed by the shopping precinct that would have remained unaccounted for without Flow.Watch technology. Further investigation showed that approx. 75% of Lincoln Mall supply came from the water main. The reason for this connection fault is currently being investigated, with a meter is being installed in this main to quantify usage and record consumption for each retail outlet. Building on the benefits currently being realised at Lincoln Mall, Flow.Watch is currently being used to monitor an additional five sites in the Auckland area.
This approach showcases how Detection Service’s innovative technologies and solutions allow customers to prioritise security and maximise the value of their resources.