Leakage from water-supply networks has long been a major problem for utilities, with some in key urban areas losing 50% or more of their capacity even before reaching customers. An Israeli start-up company, Curapipe System Ltd., believes its pipe-repair technology can provide a solution and substantially reduce the leaks.

The company landed its first major deal in November with Hagihon—the Jerusalem regional water and wastewater utility that is the largest in Israel—and is already testing its technology abroad. “This is an important contract for us as Hagihon serves as a showcase for new water technologies, which will help us in our efforts to go global,” says Peter Paz, co-CEO of Ashkelon-based Curapipe.

The seven-year service agreement valued at over $2 million was signed after 18 months of tests of the company’s Trenchless Automated Leakage Repair system; it will allow for use of its technology throughout the utility’s concession area.

“The Curapipe technology will enable us to fix leaks without stopping traffic and incurring the cost of ripping up sidewalks and streets,” says Zohar Yinon, Hagihon CEO.  He adds that the system can be integrated into its smart-water-city strategy.

Extensive field tests were conducted at Curapipe’s test facility and in Hagihon’s network. The technology uses a unique viscous curing substance that was recently approved by Israel’s Health Ministry and Israel Standards Institute for use in potable water systems.

The patented substance enters the network with the use of a pipeline pig train that is typically used in the oil-and-gas industry. The substance operates under pressure and seals leaky joints, fittings and service connections.

Curapipe is already conducting field tests abroad. A field trial is underway with Italian utility Acqua Latina in Lazio Province outside of Rome. A second trial is due to get underway soon in northern Italy. “Italy is a key market because of extremely high levels of leakage of up to 60%, and many parts of the country are water-stressed due to climate change,” says Paz.

The company is starting to test its technology in Mexico and Brazil and plans to enter the U.S. market in 2017, he adds.