Power of Z
This idea popped out of the 2019 Innovation Festival last year, to help its workers capture and record the depth of underground water and sewer pipes across the North East. 

Knowing the depth of the infrastructure beneath the regions feet is important to help speed up the job, it helps avoid pipes being struck by mistake and can reduce disruption to customers' water supplies. The blue, green and red coloured bands on the tool categorise the excavation as either shallow, normal or deep and this information is being measured and recorded from over 2,000 locations as part of a pilot project. 

 

It will help the company despatch better equipped teams to jobs - knowing in advance any specialist equipment needed to help dig based on the coloured depth recorded - allowing them to get to the pipe safely and quickly, and complete the work quicker. The data is fed back into a computer programme, which Northumbrian Water announced it would invest £20,000 into at its Innovation Festival, to help recalibrate a 3D model of the entire 15,000km long network of water pipes. 

 

It's estimated that the project will help the water company save over £400,000 over three years, with efficiencies coming from the likes of reduced roadwork delays and less damages to pipework.