Thursday, March 3, 2011

Israeli Invention Saves London's Water

Working with infrastructure companies in London, an Israeli start up, TaKaDu measures and monitors the changing pressure and flow throughout London’s water system. The World Bank stresses that solutions to address water leaks and inefficient practices are sorely needed, as drips and leaks amount to a hefty $15 billion in global funds annually - money just literally going down the drain. Generally, municipal workers don't know there is a problem until a pipe bursts. And as many American cities have found out recently, burst pipes - now occurring randomly across the country - cause millions of dollars of damage.

Based on statistical and mathematical algorithms from online and historical data provided by a waterworks source, TaKaDu software can detect leaks and prioritize and confirm repairs. It requires no additional technology or upfront investment on the client's side. With a return of investment of 250 percent within a day, TaKaDu's model is a pay-as-you-play (or monitor) model.

Plugging the world's leaks

Already working in London, TaKaDu now has a contract with Thames Water of London to create a central nervous system for the city's water pipes. The company has also developed software to enable a smart water grid. This high-tech online software, now being used in Rotterdam, Sydney and Melbourne, gives water infrastructure companies a way to manage and monitor leaks and repairs before any damage is done.

The Thames trial lasted six months before the municipal company decided to award TaKaDu a full contract. The system is monitoring the water serving 75 percent of the population in London. The water savings of two percent, though that sounds small, is significant, translating to hundreds of megaliters per day.

Mainly, however, London is counting on TaKaDu to save money. If water companies in England don't manage repairs in a timely manner, they get fined. "We are talking about millions of pounds per year," says VP Marketing Guy Horowitz. Monitoring some 10,000 kilometers of pipes in London alone, TaKaDu estimates that it saved the British capital millions of pounds in fines over the last year.

"As we do every year, we are currently stepping up all our leakage reduction activity before the winter chill sets in," Thames Water CEO Steve Shine reported last fall. "Our new TaKaDu central nervous system helps us focus our efforts in the right places and the right times."

'It's all on our roadmap'

While the company is still in startup mode, there is hope of breaking even by the end of the year - with the $10 million invested so far being funneled toward making the world's cities, like London, better managed.

Customers have not yet been found in the esteemed market of the United States simply because American water works companies are too far behind the times. "The prerequisite is that we need something [some data] to work with," says Horowitz. The situation could change, though, if the US Environment Protection Agency makes water companies accountable for providing data. Then, the sky would be the limit.

"There is so much we can do with the same algorithms," says Horowitz, who can boast what he thinks is a world record on a patent application for the technology.
"We've got so much on our hands. It's all on our road map. We want to grow and do it all properly," says Horowitz, who is proud that his company was the only Israeli one represented at Davos, selected by the World Economic Forum for its sound business development.


Anonymous said...

So why are we not using this here in Israel. A recent news item stated that we are losing millions of litres of water because of leaks????

Haifa Diarist said...

Have posed this question to the Water Commissioner's office and am awaiting a reply