The challenge

Faced with a number of active and stubborn leaks combined with pressure on resources, managers at DC Water were looking for a way to reduce investigation and repair time.

As an innovation pilot prototype was developed to put FIDO AI to the test in detecting and pinpointing leaks in tricky environments, such as complex networks, transmission mains and areas with high levels of background noise.

The FIDO AI Solution:

DC Water’s operations team intentionally targeted an area with known active and stubborn leaks where traditional methods of leak detection had been unsuccessful. 

The configuration of water pipelines in this area was complicated, featuring a mixture of large and medium-diameter pipes and parallel mains. 

FIDO Bug hardware devices were used to carry out a sweep of the area to generate points of interest (POIs) on a heat map.  Bugs were deployed on valves across approximately 450 feet of 24-inch,12-inch, and 8-inch water lines and left to take overnight samples for analysis by FIDO AI. 

The Bugs were then re-deployed as correlators to pinpoint the exact location of the leak between two POIs – these were then independently verified by engineers using other traditional acoustic equipment.  

What we achieved: 

FIDO AI identified two large, non-surfacing, leaks which had previously gone undetected. One was on a 24-inch transmission main with another on an 8-inch main situated at a road intersection. One of the larger leaks required the replacement of 8-ft of 24-inch transmission main.  


Total length of 24-inch, 12-inch and 8-inch main swept using FIDO Bugs and FIDO AI


Volume of water saved in gallons per minute after repair to a transmission main


Percentage of company’s total water usage safeguarded through identification on one large leak

The volume of this leak alone was estimated at 130 gallons per minute (approx. 0.2 mega-gallons per day) which is around 0.2% of DC Water’s daily consumption. 

The repair of the second smaller leak also resolved an ongoing problem of potable water surfacing at a nearby property. 

By focusing on large leaks detected by FIDO Bugs, DC Water staff identified and repaired unseen leaks. With these repairs, Water Operations resolved a potable water leak that had been surfacing in a property, restored the integrity of the water distribution system and eliminated the loss of non-revenue water at this location

Dr. Churchill Okonkwo, Assistant Program Manager, DC Water