State-of-the-art review of leak diagnostic experiments: Toward a smart water network

Beenish Bakhtawar, Tarek Zayed

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Effective water pipeline leak detection and localization can help water practitioners save water losses and reduce pipe rehabilitation budgets. Different sensing technologies can provide essential data aiding model development for predicting future leaks in the water distribution networks. Solutions for applying different sensing technologies to real water distribution networks are being developed for real-time data collection, precise leak localization, reducing false alarms, and continuous pipeline monitoring. Experiments of different scales and specifications have been conducted to test the application and effectiveness of sensing technologies for leak diagnosis in water pipelines. Quality data collection is especially crucial for the successful implementation of these experiments. However, practitioners need help designing effective leak detection and localization experiments, wasting time, and resources. There needs to be a greater understanding of the design parameters for more accurate testing, such as sensor selection, sensor placement, ambient noise sources, and system operations. The current study, therefore, delineates design parameters for design leak diagnosis experiments for lab, testbed, and real networks. For application in real water networks, expert opinion is used to help identify the benefits and limitations and the implementation issues of available sensing technologies. An example experiment design using multi-sensing technologies for smart leak diagnostics in Hong Kong is also presented. The study can guide water practitioners and researchers to design a multi-sensing leak diagnostic experiments enabling a smart and sustainable utility management. This article is categorized under: Engineering Water > Methods Engineering Water > Sustainable Engineering of Water Science of Water > Water Extremes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 2023


  • experimental design
  • leak detection
  • leak localization
  • sensing technologies
  • water pipelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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