Losses in Water Distribution Networks

With demand for water ever-increasing and supplies quickly diminishing, losses in water distribution networks are becoming more significant for the environment, the economy, and human health. Even in countries like Australia where we have well-developed infrastructure, water network losses from the pipe network are common and routinely factored into operational costs.

Aqua Analytics has pioneered smart water solutions for over 20 years across Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. Water loss management, active leak detection, and pipeline condition assessment are our primary service offerings. Keep reading to learn more about water loss distribution in networks, and how water loss prevention measures that could change the way we tackle water management in the future.

What Are Water Distribution Network Losses?

Water network losses refer to any water lost via leakage from mains, service pipes, and reservoirs in a water distribution system. All distribution systems experience water loss; the difference is, only the volume of the loss that varies from country to country or even region to region. Losses from leakages typically occur at joints and fittings in pipes, from leaking reservoir walls and reservoir overflows. There are also often issues surrounding unauthorised consumption, metering inaccuracies and inadequate distribution policies in water networks across developing and developed countries. The volume of water lost from any given distribution system will depend on a number of factors including:

  • How high the pressure is in the pipes
  • How frequently new leaks and burst pipes occur
  • How high the proportion is of new leaks being reported
  • How quickly a new leak is noticed
  • How quickly a new leak is located within the system
  • How long it takes to repair the leak
  • How many background (undetectable small leaks) leaks are present

Why are water distribution losses important

The Importance of Water Distribution Losses

Water distribution losses are important for three main reasons:

  1. Every active leak presents a possible entry point for bacteria, endangering the quality of the water supply. The more leaks that are present, the higher the potential danger to the end-user.
  2. Water that is "lost" in the distribution system is referred to as "non-revenue water" - this water represents a financial cost for water networks and corporations. Financially, it’s a waste to treat water for drinking, only to then have it leak out from pipes and become recontaminated. In the developing world, roughly 45 cubic metres of water is lost daily, representing an economic value of over US$3 billion a year.
  3. Wasting a finite resource makes life increasingly unsustainable across the globe. According to the World Bank, the global total water loss per year is 32 million cubic metres, with half of that occurring in developing countries. If the water losses in the developing countries were halved, the saved water would be enough to supply a staggering 90 million people with clean, drinkable water

Strategies for Water Loss Management

Diagnosing issues and implementing practical solutions is the most effective strategy that can be applied to any water company, in any country across the globe. Nothing can be done about water network losses if the issues leading to the leakages are not clearly identified first. Some useful diagnostic questions include:

  • How much water is being lost?
  • Where is it being lost?
  • Why is it being lost?
  • What strategies can be introduced to reduce loss and improve performance?
  • How can we maintain the strategy and sustain the achievements gained?

To answer the diagnostic questions, you’ll need some diagnostic tools to take accurate readings. The accuracy of the information you base your strategy on is key to its success.

At Aqua Analytics, that's exactly what we do. We diagnose issues in water distribution systems and create solutions to minimise those issues. We’re passionate about implementing the very latest digital technologies to improve operational efficiency, reduce leakages, and replace assets across water networks, when needed.

Our intelligent, technology-driven water network monitoring system will provide you with improved asset management. Some of the ways that we do this, include:

Active Leak Detection for Water Distribution Networks

We rely on modern technology to deliver expert detection of losses in water distribution networks. Using acoustic sounding technology, our technicians will locate any leakages and assess the volume of water being lost at the site. Active detection of water leaks is a crucial aspect of non-revenue water management in pipeline networks. Active water leak detection identifies leaks that do not present themselves during routine water utility inspections.

Pipeline Condition Assessment

Precise condition assessment for all assets in a water distribution system is vital to avoid unnecessary replacements and repairs while also making sure piping that is sub-standard is replaced immediately before it can cause further losses. We conduct meticulous inspections to help our customers make the right decision when it comes to the repair, replacement, and remediation of pipeline assets. Comprehensive analysis helps to determine the integrity of the system and pinpoint areas needing specific attention.

Real-Time Pipeline Monitoring

Our Internet-of-Things (IoT) network devices provide real-time feedback on water quality, water pressure variations, leakage detection and burst mains. Accurate monitoring allows for more effective management of daily operations and emergency events. Real-time feedback also reduces unexpected disruptions in the system and allows for efficient monitoring over time.

Valve Assessment

Often, water leakages will occur at joints and fittings, so accurately assessing the condition of all valves is highly advantageous. A valve is any device that regulates, directs, or controls the flow of water by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various pipelines. Therefore, evaluation of the mechanical condition and operational reliability of critical water network valves throughout a water supply system is essential for both everyday operation and in the case of an emergency when the water supply must be halted immediately. Using best-in-class valve condition assessment, Aqua Analytics can provide comprehensive reports detailing the function of the critical valve assets, the flow and pressure in the pipes, and the estimated remaining lifespan of all physical assets.

Minimising Losses in Water Distribution Networks

It is clear that minimising water distribution network losses is key to moving forward into a cleaner and more equitable society. The quality of the water we drink, the financial impacts of water leakages and the restricted access to this life-giving resource that many suffer is enough to make water loss prevention a high priority for both developed and developing regions of the globe.

Across Australia and New Zealand, Aqua Analytics eagerly pursues water loss management projects. Our leading technicians pride themselves on completing work that is results-driven, making use of cutting-edge technology to provide exceptional services to water networks and utilites.

Aqua Analytics continue to be the go-to team for water utility providers – our technicians are here to answer any questions you have about losses in water distribution networks. Get in contact via phone or via our contact page to discuss your smart water network, water loss management or pipeline condition assessment project

You may also like

Multi-Year Project with Yarra Valley Water Commences

Originally published on 29 October 2021 Several months ago, Yarra Valley Water, one of the largest water corporations in Australia, appointed Aqua Analytics as its consultant to deliver active leak detection services for the corporation’s... Read More

Subscribe to our
regular newsletter.

Get regular updates about smart water solutions, case studies and upcoming events.