Smart Ball technology saves 130mln gallons of water

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Smart Ball technology saves 130mln gallons of water

The Smart Ball system consists of a small diameter sphere with a highly sensitive acoustic sensor, that is inserted into the water network. Image Courtesy: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)

The Smart Ball system consists of a small diameter sphere with a highly sensitive acoustic sensor, that is inserted into the water network. Image Courtesy: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)

DEWA uses the technology for leak detection in the water transmission network

Press Release March 14, 2023

Dubai, UAE: Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has revealed that its Smart Ball technology has provided significant results in detecting leaks in the water transmission underground pipelines. These are usually difficult to detect using traditional leak noise logging techniques due to depth. Since its utilisation in April 2021 and until the end of 2022, the Smart Ball technology detected 43 leaks in the water transmission network in Dubai, saving 130 million imperial gallons (MIG) of water and AED 5.2 million.

The Smart Ball system consists of a small diameter sphere with a highly sensitive acoustic sensor, that is inserted into the water network, where it travels freely, driven by the water flow. It detects sounds generated by leaks and identifies gas pockets or anomalies, which have unique characteristics. Once the Smart Ball is extracted, the compiled data is analysed by software using mathematical algorithms showing the precise location of leaks, gas pockets, or anomalies. The Smart Ball travels freely inside the transmission pipes at around 3 kilometres per hour and can inspect over 35 kilometres in one day without affecting the water flow.

“We attach great importance to enhancing efficiency in all our operations by using the latest disruptive technologies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution applications in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity and water to provide our services according to the highest standards of quality, availability, reliability, and efficiency. In addition to ensuring around-the-clock water supply and early detection of leaks to reduce wastage, the Smart Ball technology contributes to reducing losses in water transmission and distribution networks which is currently 4.5% currently, one of the lowest worldwide,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.

Al Tayer noted that the Water Smart Distribution Management System, which DEWA launched, improves the automation, efficiency of operations and reliability of water supplies. It has a centralised around-the-clock system for remote control and monitoring, as well as innovative smart equipment and systems. The system uses Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) installed at interconnections between the transmission and distribution pipelines. In addition, it is linked with advanced water SCADA (Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition) and hydraulic-management systems. The system improves fault location and lowers costs.

Abdullah Obaidullah, Executive Vice President of Water & Civil at DEWA, said that DEWA monitors and remotely controls the water transmission network round the clock using the SCADA systems. This is linked to over 8,500 smart devices installed on pumping stations, reservoirs, and the water transmission and distribution pipeline network, which spans about 16,000 kilometres. He added that the Smart Ball leak detection technology reduces operational expenses, as small cracks in the water transmission pipelines are treated before they increase in size and cause further water wastage.

Pure Technologies (Xylem) SmartBall® Inline Free-Swimming Inspection PlatformOverview

A free-swimming inspection tool that detects leaks and gas pockets and maps water and wastewater pipelines



By detecting leaks and gas pockets, the SmartBall® platform allows utilities to understand the condition of pipelines with a low level of effort. This helps to address problem areas before they result in larger failures and reduces non-revenue water.

The SmartBall platform is a free-swimming inspection tool used to detect leaks and gas pockets and map pipelines. The tool can be used in pressurized water and wastewater pipelines without disrupting regular service. It is a valuable addition to a proactive pipeline management program, helping pipeline owners better understand the condition and location of their buried assets. With this information, pipeline owners can focus on the assets that need repair or replacement, which reduces capital expenditures while increasing operational confidence.   


The SmartBall platform is easy-to-deploy in a different operational conditions and has been used globally to detect leaks and gas pockets on critical pipelines.

Leak and Gas Pocket Detection  — The SmartBall platform is equipped with a highly sensitive acoustic sensor that can detect pinhole-sized leaks. The sensor also identifies the sound of trapped gas, which can adversely affect pipeline flow or lead to pipe wall degradation in wastewater force mains. The tool indicates the location of leaks and gas pockets relative to known points, typically within 6 feet (1.8 m).

Pipeline Mapping  — The SmartBall platform can map the X and Y coordinates of the pipeline using the latest accelerometer and gyroscope technologies, advanced location algorithms, and field-collected global positioning system (GPS) points. Compared with available pipeline information, the tool can help confirm pipeline alignment or identify major conflicts with utility records.

Since 2005, utilities around the world have relied on the SmartBall platform to inspect more than 7,000 miles (11,500 km) of pipeline and detect over 3,000 leaks. This operational experience ensures quality project management and professional inspection delivery.

For more information, please contact:
Khuloud Al Ali / Ribal Dayekh                                                                                       Afaf Abaza / Mohammed Meshal
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority                                                                           Hattlan Media /                                          /