leaky pipes
An example of a pipe that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is seeking innovative methods and technologies to detect leaks and flaws. Photo: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

The San Diego County Water Authority is planning to co-sponsor a nationwide contest to advance leak- and corrosion-detection technologies for large-diameter pipelines.

The competition runs through May 8 and includes a $75,000 prize provided by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The Water Authority is helping to design the competition and providing judges to identify new approaches to detecting problems with pipelines.

Corrosion and leaks result in billions of gallons of wasted water annually, the authority said.

“It’s exciting to focus national attention on an issue that’s of vital importance to us, but usually out of sight and out of mind for the public,” said Mark Muir, chair of the authority’s board of directors. “We are eager to see this competition yield new, cost-effective strategies that agencies can deploy locally and across the country.”

Contest sponsors are seeking proposals that describe “novel technologies” for detecting leaks and flaws in pipelines, the authority’s statement said.

Proposals will be evaluated for cost-effectiveness, scalability and reliability in assessing condition regardless of pipeline size, depth or material.

“Many methods exist for finding leaks and flaws, but none of them can efficiently assess the overall condition of pipelines while in operation,” said Nathan Faber, head of the authority’s asset management program. “It’s a tall order, but this nationwide competition could help us discover the next generation of condition assessment and water-saving tools.”

During the first stage, judges will merely look at proposals, but organizers envision a second stage with a larger purse that would involve demonstrating the concepts.

Contest entries must be received by the Bureau of Reclamation’s partnering innovation marketplace, InnoCentive, by midnight on May 9.

To learn more about this competition, visit: https://www.usbr.gov/research/challenges/leakypipes.html.

–City News Service