AbstractIn old distribution networks, water leaks cause significant losses, which can reach 50%; therefore, locating and correcting these leaks is crucial and is an eco-friendly measure, especially in places with few water sources. In this paper, a novel electrical technique is proposed to locate leaks in underground pipelines made of electrical insulated materials. This technique is based on the difference in the electrical resistance between the water and the pipe environment. It locates leaks by specifying the location that gives the greatest current value or the smallest resistance value in a circuit between a fixed reference point on a water pipe and a moving point on the surface. When the moving point is above a water leak point, the electrical resistance is minimum, that is, the location that gives the minimum electrical resistance or the maximum current is above the water leak point. This technique is advantageous because it is easy to implement, requires simple equipment, and can be used to detect leaks, however small, instantly at the start of the leak. Simulation and experimental studies on the effect of several parameters affecting the precision of this technique were also performed. Voltage values of 10, 20, and 30 V at a frequency of 1,000 Hz, two PVC tubes with diameters of 4 and 6 cm, and earth resistivity values of 100, 250, and 10,000  Ω·m were used. The experiments showed that the higher the voltage, the better the accuracy, and the same goes for the pipe diameter. As for the soil resistivity, the middle values give the best precision. The experimental measurements and the simulation study, using COMSOL Multiphysics software, validated this technique.

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