Tool to Fight Leakage Losses

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New Tool by WRF Helps Water Utilities Better Understand and Control Leakage in a Cost-effective Manner through Recently Completed Research and the Development of a New Leakage Analysis Tool

The Water Research Foundation, a leading sponsor of research supporting the water community, is helping water utilities better understand and control leakage in a cost-effective manner through recently completed research and the
development of a new leakage analysis tool.

Water Audits and Real Loss Component Analysis project provides water utilities information to better understand the sources of their losses from leakage throughout the water distribution system and a tool to help analyze the economic impact of various intervention strategies.

The vast majority of water utilities in North America employ reactive leakage management strategies, through which failures are repaired when they are reported to the utility. 

Because of this, utilities are continuing to experience increases in leakage losses throughout the distribution system due to a rising backlog of unreported distribution system failures. These losses continue to mount in spite of the fact that significant industry research has demonstrated the economic and efficiency gains that can be achieved through proactive leakage management.

In order to develop an effective and proactive leakage loss reduction strategy, utilities must undertake three major steps: a “top-down” water audit; component analysis of real losses;and evaluation of least-cost real loss reduction strategies.

The water audit estimates revenue and non-revenue water, as well as real losses as a sub-category of non-revenue water. The leakage component analysis further determines the known real losses and categorizes them into three types of leakage: reported, unreported, or background.

This step includes wateraudit results, utility data on specific leak occurrences, and a calculation of background losses.

By then combining the component analysis with an evaluation of least cost real loss reduction strategies, it is possible to calculate how much of each type of leakage can be economically reduced through the right combination of intervention tools. Very few water utilities have the necessary expertise in leakage loss management to efficiently undertake a leakage component analysis and design the correct leakage control program. Water Research Foundation project #4372 was designed to fill this gap.

Source: Water Research Foundation

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