[Part 1/4] WATER LOSS MANAGEMENT: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

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[Part 1/4] WATER LOSS MANAGEMENT: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

Posted on 21 July 2017 by Louise Labbe
Posted in FluksAqua Community, Wastewater Management, Water and wastewater community,

WHY MANAGEME WATER LOSSES? 

gestion des pertes en eau

Water is a precious but stressed resource that is increasingly being exposed to contaminants of all kinds. Despite a willingness to conserve it, rarely does all the water produced at a given facility reach the consumer. This is in large part due to leaks in the water distribution system. That is why controlling water loss is so important.

 

WATER LEAKAGE IS EXPENSIVE 

Drinking water treatment and distribution costs may seem negligible when expressed in cost of a cubic meter of water. So why should operators seek to reduce network water losses?

Because this same cost increases quickly when multiplied by the annual consumption of a growing population and when facility maintenance and upgrade costs are factored in. Sound management of water losses can sometimes delay investment in the expansion of the drinking water treatment plant and distribution systems by several years. An estimated 240,000 water main breaks occur every year in the United States, that means some 2.1 trillion gallons (7,950,000 trillion cubic meters) of treated water are lost. In France, this figure rises to 1.3 billion cubic meters, while in some major cities in Asia and America up to 70% of processed water is seeping out.

leak detection

(Source : leaksuite.com)

REGULATION AND SERVICE TO CONSUMERS 

In addition to economic factors, there are environmental issues, public health concerns, and changes in regulations that warrant better management and more effective reduction of water leakage. Controlling network water losses helps curtail drops in water pressure and the associated risk of contamination. This also leads to a reduction in the number of complaints about service disruptions and water quality problems.

 

From a regulatory standpoint, many governments are implementing stricter water resource conservation. To help operators comply with these new guidelines, several organizations active in the field of water such as the American Water Works Association (AWWA) have established water loss control systems and programs. Several Canadian and American cities have followed suit, including Halifax, Philadelphia, Seattle, Laval, Montreal, Georgian and Californian cities.

 

HOW TO SET UP A WATER LOSS MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

To implement a water loss management program, it is crucial that the operator be familiar with both the water distribution network and its users; for example, occasional consumption increases due to lawn watering, pool filling, fires, etc.

 

Many elements must be considered when setting up a water loss management program:

  1. A water audit (see the AWWA guide).
  2. Pressure control
  3. Leak detection
  4. Speed and quality of repairs
  5. Network maintenance
  6. Network upgrading

 

In this series of articles we will be focusing primarily on leak detection.

There are three kinds of leakage: background leakage, un-reported, and reported leakage.
We also differentiate between burst caused by a water main break and leaks. In the case of a water main burst, most of the time the water surges to the surface and causes significant damage. This requires shutting off the water supply and performing emergency repairs. In the case of a simple leak, the water rarely reaches the surface. This type of leakage still presents a risk because it erodes the surrounding soil and is often undetectable for long periods of time, as the water often finds its way to a discharge point that is not visible (a nearby course of water, sewer, ditch, etc.). With time and the accompanying soil erosion, these leaks can also cause great damage to the infrastructure and entail significant costs.


Read part 2 of this blog series

[Part 2/4] WATER LOSS MANEGEMENT: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW

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About the author

[English] Louise Labbé is the Technology Manager and Client Support at FluksAqua. Louise has over 35 years of experience in the water and wastewater sector, from operations, to design, project management, construction and system start-up and commissioning.
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[Français] Louise Labbé est responsable technique et support client chez FluksAqua. Louise cumule 35 ans d'expérience dans le domaine des eaux potables et des eaux usées dans diverses fonctions reliées à l'opération, la conception, la gestion de projet, la construction et la mise en route des systèmes.