5 ways drones can improve your water infrastructure inspections

Written by
Simon Aldridge
March 13, 2023

Water infrastructure assets such as river and creek networks, dams, reservoirs, and water treatment plants are critical components of our water supply systems. Regular inspections are necessary to ensure that these assets are functioning properly and do not pose any risks to the public or the environment. Traditionally, these inspections have been carried out by trained personnel who physically visit the sites and inspect the assets. However, with the advent of drone technology, inspections can now be conducted more efficiently, cost-effectively, and with higher accuracy.

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are becoming increasingly popular in various industries due to their ability to gather data and capture images from hard-to-reach locations. In the water infrastructure industry, drones are being used for asset inspection, mapping, and monitoring. The benefits of using drones for water infrastructure asset inspection are numerous, including:

Improved Safety

One of the most significant advantages of using drones for asset inspection is improved safety. Drones can access hard-to-reach areas that would otherwise require workers to traverse difficult terrain or climb and rappel large structures to inspect, which can be dangerous and time-consuming. Using drones rapidly reduces the risk of injury to personnel during inspections (especially any operations from heights), which ultimately leads to fewer accidents and worker compensation claims.

Increased Efficiency

Drones are much faster than traditional inspection methods, allowing inspectors to cover more ground in less time. With the ability to fly over assets and capture high-quality images and data, drones can provide a comprehensive view of assets that would be difficult to achieve with manual inspections. Drones can also be programmed to follow specific flight paths, allowing for consistent and repeatable inspections.


Using drones for asset inspection is also cost-effective. Traditional inspection methods can be expensive, requiring specialized equipment and personnel. With drones, however, there is no need for scaffolding or other expensive equipment. Additionally, drones require minimal personnel to operate, which reduces labor costs.

Accurate Data Collection

Drones can capture high-quality images and data, providing a more accurate picture of asset conditions. This data can be used to identify potential problems and plan for maintenance and repairs. Additionally, drones can capture data in real-time, allowing inspectors to make on-the-spot decisions about potential issues.

Environmental Benefits

Using drones for asset inspection can also have environmental benefits. Traditional inspection methods can be disruptive to wildlife habitats and ecosystems. With drones, there is no need for ground-based vehicles, which can reduce the impact on local environments.

The benefits of using drones for water infrastructure asset inspection are clear. Drones improve safety, increase efficiency, reduce costs, provide accurate data and insights, and have environmental benefits. As drone technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more widespread use of drones in the water infrastructure industry.

Simon Aldridge
Simon is the Head of Sales and Operations at Birdi and is the engine that keeps everything running smoothly. He works closely with our Enterprise clients throughout their entire customer journey, to ensure they get the best experience possible with our product. He also has a penchant for writing in all caps, but has promised not to do so on the blog.

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