Leaks on large-diameter trunk mains – more than just non-revenue water reduction


Courtesy of Pure Technologies - a Xylem brand

Providing safe, reliable access to clean water is a major challenge for utilities around the world considering that roughly 12 billion gallons of water are lost every day globally. While many utilities are aware of the importance of reducing Non-Revenue Water (NRW), reducing it can be a challenge. The World Bank estimates that NRW costs utilities worldwide about US$14 billion every year. By reducing these losses by half in areas with the highest NRW, it is estimated that US$2.9 billion cash would be generated and an additional 90 million people could have access to water.

Although there are many factors that contribute to NRW, one of the most significant causes is leakage on aging water pipelines. Much of the water and wastewater infrastructure around the world is aging and reaching the end of its design life – this is leading to a greater number of leaks and pipe ruptures. While these occur most frequently on small-diameter distributions mains, leaks and ruptures on large-diameter trunk mains are a much larger concern for utility operators.

Leaks on trunk mains often account for a much higher percentage of the total water lost from leakage than leaks in the distribution system. This is primarily because trunk mains carry water at a much higher capacity and operating pressure than distribution pipelines, but also because the lower frequency of trunk main leaks leads to many of these problems not being identified for long periods of time.

In the 2014 edition of Water Loss Detectives – a leading water loss publication –produced by Aquatim S.A., Pure Technologies explains how focusing leak detection on large-diameter trunk mains can not only make a tangible impact on reducing NRW, but also contributes to long-term pipeline reliability.

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