- August
Posted By : Makhanana Nkhwashu
The Pipe Condition Assessment device

University of Cape town 

Brief Technology Description

The Pipe Condition Assessment device is a new invention based on more than 15 years of research into the behaviour of pipe leaks. The device connects to a water distribution pipe at a hydrant and performs a series of tests to assess the condition of isolation valves, identify and characterise pipe leakage and detect illegal connections

Next Steps Required

A second generation prototype of the device has been designed and two of these prototypes have been built. Laboratory tests if the device is currently underway and field tests will start in Cape Town in July 2017.

Key Personnel

  • Prof Kobus van Zyl, UCT: Hydraulic design and project leader
  • Dr Thinus Booysen, University of Stellenbosch: Control system design
  • Rene Nsanzubuhoro, UCT: PhD student
  • Masoabi Malunga, UCT: Research Assistant

Company Background

The product has been developed through a collaborative effort between the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch.

Detailed Technology Description

  • The Pipe Condition Assessment Device consists of a various hydraulic and control components that are used to conduct a series of tests on a water distribution system pipe. Two further elements have been develop to support the device – an Android app and a cloud-based management system.
  • The main device consists of a water tank, generator, pump, water meters, valves, pressure sensor and GPS unit linked to a central processing and communication unit. These components are integrated into a hand-drawn trolley allowing it to be easily moved from one location to the next.
  • The second element of the device is an Android app that runs on a smartphone or tablet. The app guides the operators to the next pipe to be tested. It then assists the operators by identifying the hydrant to connect to, valves to close and house connections to isolate through a GIS and GPS functionality. The app takes the operators through the different steps of the pipe test and allows them to take pictures and add comments of problems observed in the field, such as elements not included in the GIS, leaking flow meters or damaged valves.
  • The final element is a cloud-based management system that schedules the next pipe to be tested, links the app to the GIS data, manages the tests conducted and collects and analyses the test data. The management system may be linked to various other databases and systems to analyse the test data, incorporate other system data and schedule pipe repair or replacement actions.

Technology Applications

  • Water loss management
  • Maintenance of water distribution systems


Successful Laboratory and field tests were performed using a first generation prototype. The second prototype is currently being tested in the laboratory and will move to field testing soon.

Testing and Demonstration Results

Information not provided

Papers and Publications

IP Status

The device has been provisionally patented internationally

website UCT Research

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