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Leeds water pipes to get 21st century makeover

The underground network of water pipes in Leeds are getting a £1.4m 21st century makeover to help cope with a huge spike in demand for water, with around 12 million litres of water consumed each day in the city centre alone.

It will involve six ‘smart’ valves being installed across six key areas of the water pipe network in the city centre including Wellington Road, Clarendon Road, Pontefract Lane, Woodhouse Lane, Hunslet Lane and University Road.

From Monday 15th January, University Road will be closed for seven weeks with a diversion route put in place until the valve is fully installed by Yorkshire Water technicians.

The £1.4m project is being carried out to help meet the rise in demand for water due to expansion in the city centre and new leisure and retail openings such as Leeds Arena and Trinity Leeds shopping centre.

Due to higher volumes of water consumed, Yorkshire Water has noticed occasional water pressure issues in its underground pipe network, particularly around the Woodhouse area when a major concert at Leeds Arena is on.

However, the scheme will solve the problem by installing remotely controlled ‘smart’ valves into the water network. These valves will help control the flow of water, which will prevent pressure surges that can occasionally lead to burst pipes and supply disruptions.

Jayne Blackburn, project manager at Yorkshire Water said: “This is an exciting new project for Yorkshire Water and will give us greater intelligence about how our water pipe network in the city centre operates.

“One interesting location that these valves are being installed is Woodhouse Lane. The water pipe here provides water to Leeds Arena and when the arena is being used the demand for water in this area goes up significantly and so supply is crucial to ensure events can take place.”

The project involves specialist sensors being installed in the pipes that are capable of remotely talking to the valves to open and close them and in doing so control water flow.

The work is being carried out by Yorkshire Water’s contract partners Morrison Utility Services and aims to be finished by end of September 2018.

The work forms part of a wider multi-million pound package announced in December by Yorkshire Water that will create 300 new jobs to help the firm become a top performer in the water sector.

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