8 ways to help control water loss
A water audit is the foundation of proper resource management for drinking water utilities. Utilities can take several steps to control losses both while the audit is under way and as part of an ongoing resource management program.
Leakage recovery is the best new water resource. Leakage can be managed by component analysis, zone flow analysis and leak detection technology, such as geophones, computer correlators and leak noise loggers.
- Pressure management
Many systems are over pressured, which can lead to higher break frequencies and volume loss. Reducing pressure is a simple and effective way to aid conservation, reduce transients and overflows, and increase safety of emergency flows.
- Rehabilitation and replacement
Many water systems are reaching the end of their useful life and becoming corroded and inefficient. Pipe cleaning and relining, network replacement, service replacement, and valve and hydrant maintenance are a few ways to optimize the system’s life.
- Leak repair time
Not all leaks are repaired as efficiently as possible. Leaks are classified as either reported or unreported, and both categories have a run time. Reducing the run time can save significant volumes of lost water.
- Meter accuracy error
Meters fail for a number of reasons, including wear over time, excess volume or abrasive waters, incorrect installation or lack of maintenance, incorrect sizing or meter type, or environmental problems such as freezing or overheating. Good installation, selection and sizing, along with routine testing and regularly scheduled replacement, can resolve those issues.
- Data transfer errors
Often, meters correctly record data, but the information is transferred incorrectly. Errors occur because of scaling problems, problems with zeroes, pulse or factor problems, meter reader error in manual reads or poor customer accountability. Auditing, inspections, standardization and a good data trail resolve many of those problems.
- Data analysis errors
The utility office also can use data incorrectly. Volumes may be inferred from estimates or from rebates. Customers may be lost or temporarily transferred to other accounting systems. Those problems can be resolved through routine audits, operator education and clear operating guidelines.
- Theft and illegal consumption
Illegal consumption includes unreported connections, bypasses, meter tampering and misusing hydrants. Routine inspections, prepay schemes, flow and pressure control, and legal action can resolve those problems.