The Plaine de Riom drinking water syndicate (Puy-de-Dôme) relies on technology to improve its network

“On the tightrope”… These words come up regularly in the mouth of Pierre Boutet, the president of the Plaine de Riom union, which provides drinking water supply to nearly 30,000 inhabitants, spread over 27 municipalities. The hottest and driest days have passed. But by dint of summers monitoring the slightest drop, the question of the supply of drinking water has been permanently invited to the headlines. It does not leave Pierre Boutet’s mind. It even governs all the orientations decided by the union. “We need to be very rigorous about the volumes consumed and lost,” comments the president.

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For the union, this need to improve the network is a common thread for the years to come. A major investment plan has been put in place: the annual work program on the network is 1.5 million euros. To this sum is added a program of 4.5 million euros over three years, financed by a loan over 60 years.

Report with Pierre Boutet, president of the plain of Riom union, on the union’s “drinking water” facilities, and in particular the Puy-Blanc water tower in Châtel-Guyon

nearly 500 kilometers

This budget is used to renew the approximately 500 kilometers of network at 1.2 to 1.4% per year. It also makes it possible to invest effectively in devices which make it possible to detect leaks more quickly, to better locate them and, thus, to limit losses. The local public company Semerap is in charge of operating this network.

Between 2019 and 2021, the Plaine de Riom union installed around sixty “counting and regulation chambers”. This equipment, installed on the pipes, in manholes, transmits flow rate information to technicians on a daily basis. They can thus quickly detect any anomaly. Similarly, nearly 300 “acoustic prelocators” have been installed on the network since the first half of 2021. These small boxes listen to the sound of water flowing through the pipes and are able to distinguish the noise from a leak. The technician can thus locate the section to be repaired more easily.

Report with Pierre Boutet, president of the plain of Riom union, on the union’s “drinking water” facilities, and in particular the Puy-Blanc water tower in Châtel-Guyon

Efforts bear fruit

Even if the task is immense, the union is pleased to see that its efforts are bearing fruit: the performance of the network has increased from 74.8% in 2015 to 80.1% in 2021. This means a saving of more than five liters for every hundred liters produced. At Enval, for example, where the network was in poor condition, major investments have made it possible to significantly reduce the number of leaks.

To explore the water catchment of the Goulet, in Volvic, it is necessary to resolve to a long underground journey

Jean-Baptiste Ledys

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