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[Part 2/4] WATER LOSS MANEGEMENT: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
FluksAqua Community, FluksAqua insights, Wastewater Management, Water and wastewater community,
HOW TO MANAGE WATER LOSSES
Locating leaks requires specialized teams and equipment, and this can be expensive depending on the personnel required, the distance to cover, and the amount of time involved.
That is why pre-location (or detection) of leaks is recommended. This means identifying the network areas that represent a greater risk of leakage before deploying a detection and repair team. Pre-locating leaks allows for better targeting of problematic areas and prioritization of the necessary work.
To do this, it is best to tackle small areas whose flow is measured, preferably 1000 to 3000 customer service connections, in order to obtain the data required for pre-location and pinpointing. We call this district metering.
(Source: Farley, 2001)
A PRACTICAL TOOL FOR DATA ANALYSIS
Once the district metering is in place, the data from flowmeters, level sensors, pressure sensors etc. is analyzed. This step can be tedious because of the volume of data and the lack of graphical representation. Different tools can be used to process data captured in the field. Some big cities with more resources can afford to program their own data processing systems to generate graphic information so it can be analyzed in real time. Cities with more limited budgets face hurdles in their ability to perform timely and effective data analysis or must turn to software like Excel to generate reports themselves. Unfortunately, this step requires considerable time, effort, and resources that often make it impossible to undertake on a regular basis. Without graphical interfaces and automated data processing, it can be difficult for water operators, engineers and managers to analyze and understand the data, thereby undermining efforts to target problem areas. Yet, it is important to perform regular monitoring in order to locate leaks quickly and avoid situations in which they erupt to the surface causing greater damage and longer service disruptions.
A solution has been developed by our team to enable utilities with limited financial means or lack of internal resources to easily obtain the data reporting they need. FluksAqua’s Leak Detection tool allows quick and easy data analysis at a lower cost, enabling operators, engineer and managers to better manage their drinking water distribution networks.
How does it work? It’s as simple as having an Internet connection. The operator connects to a private portal by opening their web browser. They then access their dashboard that tells them which districts present potential water leakage. The operator can view data on flow and volume for each district metered area of their network for a selected period.
SETTING OBJECTIVES AND THREHOLDS
For each district metered area, the operator sets targets that will allow them to evaluate the performance of the network on a daily basis as well as for longer periods of time. The Leak Detection tool means operators can identify problems as soon as they occur and accurately quantify the volume of water losses. Cloud-based, the application facilitates collaboration between teams and ensures improved resource management.
Different indicators can be used to set thresholds to monitor the water supply in each district metered area; these include the daily volume, minimum flow rate (occurring mostly at night), and linear infrastructure leakage index (gallons or cubic meters per length of main). The addition of these indicators means you can compare the data from your sensors and quickly identify any abnormal volume and flow values and trends in each district.
Example of a gradual leak repaired after several days
Example of a sudden leak with repairs made the next day
A fast way of setting a goal for your utility is to consult the benchmark tool and select your water distribution system or city. Consult the bubble chart at the bottom of the page and identify a water distribution system or city having a better Linear Water Loss Index than yours. This Index value becomes your goal, which can be adjusted as needed.
Another empirical approach is also possible using your existing data to set a target for the daily distributed volume and a target for the minimum flow. (This method does not, however, take into account the fact that you may already have leaks incorporated into the existing data.) Once you have your targets, these can be refined by calculating the average consumption in liters per person per day for your region and by adding Unavoidable Annual Real Losses (UARL). The most accurate method was developed by the AWWA/IWA, which takes into account the ratio of Current Annual Real Losses (CARL) and the Unavoidable Annual Real Losses (UARL) defined by the following formula:
ILI = CARL / UARL
AWWA’s M36 Water Audits and Loss Control Programs brochure clearly explains how to determine the current real losses and unavoidable annual real losses. AWWA also offers a free spreadsheet to calculate certain indicators and to perform a water audit required prior to setting up district metering.
Read part 3 of our blog series.
[Part 3/4] WATER LOSS MANAGEMENT: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW