Non-revenue water (NRW) is the difference between the amount of water a utility supplies to the distribution system and the amount of water billed. NRW is a waste of money, and water lost from leaks is a waste of drinking water resources.
Unfortunately, NRW levels are high in many countries around the globe – varying from around 5 % to as much as 80 %, with around 40 % being the estimated average. Huge volumes of drinking water are wasted, lost through leaks and overflows, or not accounted for due to absence of metering, metering inaccuracies and illegal connections (theft) leading to increased production costs and reduced revenues, a poisonous cocktail of financial losses for the water utilities. In many parts of the world, this entails far more water extraction than needed, and consequently water resources are being over-exploited.
Save water – save money
Sustainable water management is, besides being good for the environment, simply good business. In the long run, a sustainable approach to efficient water supply does not cost money – it saves money, for utilities as well as for consumers.
NIRAS has extensive experience in NRW management and water loss control. We assist water companies around the world with all aspects of reducing water losses and associated financial losses. Our approach is built on the following:
- Conduct a water audit to establish the baseline
- Develop an NRW master plan
- Implement procedures for (annual) water auditing and master plan updates
- Install required instrumentation and monitoring devices
- Introduce performance monitoring and performance improvement in the daily work
- Implement pressure management and active leakage control
- Initiate strategic pipeline management and rehabilitation plans
- Utilise all operational data across the organisation
Documented and international experience
Using this approach, we have documented experience in managing and reducing NRW in a wide range of water utilities in different countries facing different problems and challenges. Our holistic methods combining knowledge and technologies have shown to result in:
- Countless (existing) leaks identified, located and repaired
- Savings in water production and distribution cost combined with reductions in energy consumption
- Improved operation by implementation of online hydraulic models and online monitoring of performance indicators
- Improved skills of staff
- NRW reduced below 10 % for priority DMAs achievable within one year.
Our services include
- IWA water balances, demand analysis and NRW assessment
- Field surveys, system analyses and system design
- Instrumentation planning and implementation
- Hydraulic modelling – offline and online, including water quality
- Planning and design of an active leak detection system including deployment of noise loggers
- Implementation of a holistic management information system (HOMIS) for online reporting of performance indicators
- Performance monitoring and performance improvements through balanced scorecard principles
- Capacity building through management strategy workshops and training in various water management
- Project management, planning, coordination, and supervision
- Quality control on works specifications and material specifications
NIRAS is part of LEAKman – a joint partnership of nine Danish partners representing technology providers, consultants, water utilities and the Technical University of Denmark. The LEAKman concept was developed to demonstrate Danish solutions for managing and limiting drinking water loss and pave the way for new technology. Each of the partners are leaders within their field of expertise, delivering world-class products and knowledge for NRW management and water loss control.
In the northern capital region of Copenhagen, four utility networks have been transformed into state-of-the-art demonstration facilities for Danish leakage management solutions. Here, we combine our joint knowledge and technologies, implemented in full scale to test, verify and optimise leakage management solutions. The goal is to reduce NRW levels to 4-6 per cent and maintain that level. Read more about LEAKman.