Water Loss Control Programs
Water loss control includes utility efforts to manage leakage to economically low levels, and reducing metering and billing errors such that reliable measures of customer consumption are attained and sufficient revenue is garnered by the water utility. Utilities should adopt policies for non-revenue water and water loss control just as they adopt policies for purchasing, procurement, personnel, and other utility program areas. A template non-revenue water policy that can be adopted by a municipality or water loss utility is available.
After compiling an annual water audit, water utilities can control losses in their operations by implementing programs to identify and contain inefficiencies. Such programs include leakage management, meter accuracy testing and enforcement against unauthorized consumption of water.
Losses in water utility operations occur in two distinctly different manners. “Apparent” losses occur due to customer meter inaccuracies, billing system data errors and unauthorized consumption. These losses cost utilities revenue and distort data on customer consumption patterns. “Real” losses are water that escapes the water distribution system, including leakage and storage overflows. These losses inflate the water utility’s production costs and stress water resources, since they represent water that is extracted and treated, yet never reaches beneficial use.
Specific interventions exist to combat both apparent and real losses. It is important that the water utility determine the cost impact to the water utility from its apparent and real losses, and design an intervention strategy that takes into account the water resources and economic benefits of containing these losses.