For water utilities, controlling leaks and reducing non-revenue water can be a significant challenge. To ensure maximum efficiency in water distribution networks, it is important to understand what water loss management is, and how you can best address water loss through strategic management solutions.
At Aqua Analytics, we are passionate about implementing effective water loss management strategies to improve operational efficiencies for water utilities, ensure a reliable supply for their customers, and positively contribute to sustainable water networks.
What Is Water Loss Management?
Water loss management is the implementation of strategies, tactics, and activities to reduce water loss from a distribution network. Lost water can stem from leaks, burst pipes and incorrect meter registration or other administrative errors. The water lost within the system is referred to as real losses. Non-revenue water is drinking water that has been captured, treated, and pumped but does not reach its intended destination. This can prove costly to water utility providers as it has been processed, and costs incurred, but not paid for by an end customer.
How Is Water Loss Managed?
Effective water loss management requires a tailored approach, as every utility and scenario is unique. These projects will be specific to each water utility and sometimes to sections within a water management system.
At the beginning of any water loss and pressure management project, the consulting party should work closely with the utility to understand their objectives, budget, network requirements, and long-term goals. These asset management plans must be consistent with other aspects of their strategic or corporate objectives for the most effective results.
To provide further detail about “what is water loss management?”, here are six key questions that we always consider when working on any water management project.
- What are the budget requirements?
- What are the implications of a relatively high level of leakage?
- How can we estimate the savings from leakage management measures?
- How do the regulators (such as IPART in New South Wales) view our leakage reduction targets?
- What existing data sources are available? And do we wish to obtain greater insight into leakage through smart device deployment?
- What are the next steps in formulating a leakage management plan?
- What are the best leak detection technologies to achieve our results?
- Are there any political considerations we need to consider?
After all these questions have been answered, and the project goals are identified, water loss experts can then deploy various tools, techniques, and technologies to identify problem areas and study the relevant sections of the water network. With these areas identified, recommendations can be made to improve the network and reduce loss with improvements to infrastructure, monitoring and the replacement or remediation of pipeline sections. When considering the question of “What is water loss management?”, it is essential to note that management projects vary in requirements and time frames. Some utilities will request short term assistance or resolve immediate issues, while others contract water loss technicians on a long-term project for more holistic remediation and ongoing management. Additionally, as a project progresses, the requirements and costs could vary. It is essential to continually review the techniques and processes utilised to ensure the most cost-effective and efficient strategies are being implemented.
Water Loss Management and Pressure Monitoring Techniques
1. Leak Detection
One of the primary activities carried out when assessing a water management network is leak detection. Active leak detection is essential in identifying where leaks are present and reducing the effects of non-revenue water. Improvements in leak detection technology have produced a whole suite of devices and processes which can be utilised and tailored to each project. Leak detection equipment includes listening sticks, ground microphones, leak noise correlators and acoustic leak detection devices. An approach that uses multiple pieces of equipment can provide accurate locations of the leaks and areas of the pipeline that require remediation.
2. Minimum Night Flow Monitoring
Minimum night flowing monitoring is utilised to determining the extent of the water loss within the network. Between midnight and 5 am, most water networks are operating at their minimum requirement. This period of reduced fluctuation and minimal flow provides the perfect opportunity to conduct a minimum flow test and study the networks level of water loss.
3. Permanent Leak Monitoring
Another aspect of understanding what water loss is, is acknowledging the importance of preventative measures that reduce existing water inefficiencies and provide long term solutions to mitigate their effects. The implementation of permanent leak monitoring provides utilities with access to real-time data that allows them to identify and repair emerging leaks. Identifying these leaks before they cause a catastrophic failure is a massive advantage for utilities as the resources required for repairs and downtimes are significantly reduced. Monitoring devices such as noise loggers can be implemented in permanent or semi-permanent configurations and provide detailed diagnostic information remotely to improve decision-making.
How is Water Loss Management Done Using Smart IoT Devices
Aqua Analytics, we are passionate about using data and technology-driven solutions for all water management projects. Internet of things (IoT) devices allow for remote, real-time data collection for on-site inspections, real-time monitoring, and water loss management projects. The implementation of these data enabled components to contribute to developing a smart water network that improves the efficiency, longevity, and reliability of the physical water utilities. IoT devices for water pipelines are also incredibly affordable and easy to install, making them perfect for utilities looking to embrace digital solutions and improve overall operations.
The Benefits of Ongoing Water Loss Management While ongoing water loss management projects will not have a set conclusion, it is possible to continually monitor and review the performance of the utility network, or at least, a section of it. Ongoing assessments will involve collecting data and analysing it against the initial and recent performance of the network. An ongoing strategy will continually seek to improve on key performance indicators. Three critical aims for any water loss management project are:
Reduced Levels of Leakage – remediations to sources of leaks and improved monitoring reduce the amount of treated water lost underground.
More Reliable Water Supply – fixing existing or damaged pipes at risk of significant bursts reduces the frequency and efficiency reductions of catastrophic events.
Improved Water Quality – a more secure water network with fewer leaks will reduce the potential for contamination. Additionally, enhanced monitoring controls improve troubleshooting processes and identification of any variations in quality levels. Improved water quality and the reliability of the network enhances compliance and safety for customers.
The reduced leakage and increased reliability and quality all positively affect the efficiency of the water management network. Increased operational efficiencies positively contribute to the overall costs for the utility. It also improves the overall sustainability of the pipeline with less energy required to deliver the water to its intended destination.
Read more: What are smart water networks?
Aqua Analytics : Experts in Water Loss Management
If you would like any more information regarding “what is water loss management?”, do not hesitate to get in touch with the team at Aqua Analytics. We have over 20 years of experience in water loss management and active leak detection projects throughout Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. We pride ourselves on results-driven work and providing excellent service to our customers.
We continue to be the team that water utilities across Australia and New Zealand turn to when they require expert water loss and pressure management assistance. If you would like more information about our services or to enquire about how we can help you, contact us today.