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AI-driven water wastage prevention startup hits the market

11 June 2024

Today marks the official launch of Watergate®, a new AI-driven start-up determined to help businesses and homeowners prevent costly leaks and reduce their water consumption. 

Watergate not only aids businesses in tracking and reporting water-based sustainability metrics on a built-in ESG dashboard, but also helps homeowners secure potential discounts on their home insurance premiums given the reduced leak damage risk.

Watergate has operated in stealth mode for the past six months and now launches as Britain faces a water wastage crisis. 

Every day, 3 billion litres of water is lost to leaks in Britain - equivalent to 1,180 Olympic swimming pools. According to United Utilities, 30% of this takes place within homes and businesses - the equivalent of 11 million bath loads of water every day.
Additionally, insurers pay out £16m a day for damage to UK property, split roughly evenly between domestic and commercial property claims. The number one culprit is “escape of water” – water leaks – which account for about as much damage as all fires, explosions and theft combined. Watergate is in talks with a number of UK insurers about the potential for sharing device costs and reducing premiums for users.

Easily fixed water leaks, such as a leaky toilet, can save homeowners hundreds of pounds on their water bills. Watergate will pick this up in seconds after installation.

Plug ‘n’ Play solution 

Despite the complexity behind the technology, Watergate’s smart stopcock looks like a piece of modern consumer kit, meaning it can be fitted once and just left for years to do its thing. This no-fuss robust approach helps everyone adopt what Watergate hopes will be a default addition to plumbing, leading effortlessly to a more sustainable world.

Watergate founder Krystian Zajac explains: “Smoke alarms, smart thermostats and doorbell cameras are commonplace. Yet precious drinking water, a scarce and life-giving resource, is piped into people's homes and businesses at high pressure with nothing but a 19th-century tap valve to regulate flow. I envisage a future where every property installs a smart stopcock as standard to measure water usage, quality, temperature, pressure and react to potential leaks - all controllable on your phone. It's simple and available today.”

AI-driven solution ecosystem
The Watergate ecosystem comprises the ‘Sonic Smart Stopcock’ and an associated suite of apps and enterprise software - all incorporating AI data analysis. A separate ‘point-leak-sensor’, for placing under appliances, that links to the ecosystem, is undergoing beta testing and is due to launch within six months.

The Sonic Smart Stopcock is installed right after the main stopcock in your home or business property. From there, it has an eagle-eye view of all the water that flows into your property, and it samples it up to 86,000 times a day, around the clock, with an array of four different sensors (ultrasonic flow meter, pressure and two different temperature sensors).

The AI software analyses water usage patterns from the device and details the events which have taken place within the user app. As the network of devices grows, the accuracy of the AI also improves.

This sophisticated array of instruments allows Sonic to detect if there’s a leak anywhere in your property. And it notifies you via a companion app – and can even shut off the water to prevent potential damage.

For building managers with multiple properties, Watergate’s software uses AI to analyse usage patterns across a portfolio, displaying this in a dashboard to enable targeted water conservation strategies via precise sub-metering and management. It also supports water health and ESG compliance by monitoring for the risk of Legionella and maintaining optimal water conditions.

Successful customer pilots

Watergate is initially targeting a range of sectors where water leaks are a major issue, including home developers, student lettings, residential landlords, hotel chains, retail estates and public and government buildings.

Its technology has already been successfully piloted in several hundred property installations – both commercial and domestic - across the UK. 

Watergate has also begun building a network of certified installers – independent professional plumbers who benefit from advanced training and accreditation. This will create a new ESG-based revenue stream for plumbing professionals, as well as ensuring consistent high quality installation, at a fixed price, for customers. 

Watergate is the brainchild of Krystian Zajac, a successful entrepreneur who previously built smart home insurance company Neos, which was sold to Aviva. It is backed by a group of angel investors and has just closed its initial seed round of £1.8m from hand-picked blue-chip angel investors and a convertible loan from Diomedes Capital.  Investors were attracted by the opportunity to back a company, with a Founder having a proven track record, using cutting edge technology to solve urgent environmental challenges.

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