Rancho California Water District receives $91,000 grant for new satellite-based leak detection

The United States Bureau of Reclamation’s (USBR) Water Conservation Field Services Program has awarded Rancho California Water District a grant for $91,000 for a new satellite-based leak detection tool that can detect water leaks before they break ground. 

The highly innovative water conservation tool called ASTERRA Recover uses aircraft-based Synthetic Aperture Radar data collected by NASA satellites. The system is able to detect and geographically locate underground pipeline leaks, including those that have left no visible evidence above ground, by using artificial intelligence and machine algorithms.

Upon deploying the new tool within Rancho Water’s 100,000-acre service area and on its 952 miles of distribution pipelines, the district will be able to find and repair more leaks than would be possible using traditional leak detection methods.

By finding leaks before they surface, Rancho Water will reduce repair times and water loss, and increase its construction crew efficiencies. Currently, crews are able to detect leaks with sensitive listening devices, by identifying unusual continuous water use from a meter, or by actually seeing an excess of above-ground moisture.

“Rancho Water is proud to be at the forefront of using innovative technology for leak detection,” Rancho Water Board President John Rossi said. “This generous grant from the USBR gives Rancho Water the ability to utilize a groundbreaking tool that saves water, money, and construction time for our district and its constituents.”

The grant agreement with the USBR will be executed in the coming weeks. Once completed, Rancho Water will work with ASTERRA to begin accessing the leak detection data from the Recover system. For more information about the ASTERRA Recover tool, visit

Rancho California Water District serves Temecula, Murrieta, and unincorporated areas of Southwest Riverside.


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