Literature Review of Data Analytics for Leak Detection in Water Distribution Networks: A Focus on Pressure and Flow Smart Sensors

Xi Wan*, Parisa Khorsandi Kuhanestani, Raziyeh Farmani, Edward Keedwell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Leakage detection is one of the important aspects of water distribution management. Water companies are exploring alternative approaches to detect leaks in a timely manner with high accuracy to reduce water losses and minimize environmental and economic consequences. In this article, a literature review is presented to develop a step-by-step analytic framework for the leakage detection process based on flow and pressure data collected from water distribution networks. The main steps of the data analytic for leakage detection are: setting up the goals, data collection, preparing the gathered data, analyzing the prepared data, and method evaluation. The issues of concern for each step of the proposed leakage detection framework are analyzed and discussed. The smart sensor-based leakage detection methods can be categorized as data-driven methods and model-based methods. Data-driven methods can be further categorized as statistical process control-based methods, prediction-classification methods, and clustering methods. Hydraulic model-based methods can be further categorized as calibration-based methods, sensitivity analysis, and classifier-based methods. The advantages and disadvantages of each method are discussed, and suggestions for future research are provided. This review represents a new perspective on the subject from five aspects: (1) most of the leakage detection methods are focused on burst detection, and different types of leakage should be considered in future research, (2) it is important to consider data uncertainties, and more robust real-time leakage detection methods should be developed, (3) it is important to consider hydraulic model uncertainties, (4) unrealistic assumptions should be addressed in future research, and (5) spatial relations between sensors could provide more information and should be considered.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of water resources planning and management
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


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