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Leakage Management Technologies (2007)

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Prepared by: Paul V. FannerReinhard SturmJulian Thornton, and Roland Liemberger

In this EPA and AwwaRF report on Leakage Management Technologies, technologies are discussed and trialled in North America. Researchers reviewed proactive leakage manageament technologies used internationally, with focus on the United Kingdom. The assessment phase identified the most promising leakage management technologies for pilot testing in North America. This report provides guidelines and tools on how to successfully apply the selected leakage management technologies based upon the pilot test results.


The Awwa Research Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that is dedicated to the implementation of a research effort to help utilities respond to regulatory requirements and traditional high priority concerns of the industry. The research agenda is developed through a process of consultation with subscribers and drinking water professionals. Under the umbrella of a Strategic Research Plan, the Research Advisory Council prioritizes the suggested projects based upon current and future needs, applicability, and past work; the recommendations are forwarded to the Board of Trustees for final selection. The foundation also sponsors research projects through the unsolicited proposal process; the Collaborative Research, Research Applications, and Traditional Collaboration programs; and various joint research efforts with organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Association of California Water Agencies.

This publication is the result of one of these sponsored studies, and it is hoped that its findings will be applied in communities throughout the world. The following report serves not only as a means of communicating the results of the water industry’s centralized research program but also as a tool to enlist the further support of the nonmember utilities and individuals.

Projects are managed closely from their inception to the final report by the foundation’s staff and large cadre of volunteers who willingly contribute their time and expenses. The foundation serves a planning and management function and awards contracts to other institutions such as water utilities, universities, and engineering firms. The funding for this research effort comes primarily from the Subscription Program, through which water utilities subscribe to the research program and make an annual payment proportionate to the volume of water they deliver and consultants and manufacturers subscribe based on their annual billings. The program offers a cost-effective and fair method for funding research in the public interest.

A broad spectrum of water supply issues is addressed by the foundation’s research agenda: resources, treatment and operations, distribution and storage, water quality and analysis, toxicology, economics, and management. The ultimate purpose of the coordination effort is to assist water suppliers to provide the highest possible quality of water economically and reliably.

The true benefits are realized when the results are implemented at the utility level. The foundation’s trustees are pleased to offer this publication as a contribution toward that end.



The primary goals of AwwaRF report Leakage Management Technologies were to:

  • Review proactive leakage management technologies used internationally, with focus on the United Kingdom (UK).
  • Assess the applicability of these technologies to North American water utilities and select the most suitable technologies for pilot installations in participating utilities.
  • Provide guidance on how to practically and cost-effectively apply these technologiesto North American water utilities, based on the above research and hands on installation of promising techniques in controlled pilot areas.The tools and guidelines developed in this project will be beneficial to a variety of users, including:
  • Industry Wide: Private and Public Utilities, Consultants, and Contractors
  • General Utility Management
  • Commercial Management
  • Engineering LevelBenefits of leakage management are:
  • Most effective and economic way of reducing level of losses from distribution system
  • Improves public health protection
  • Increases the level of service provided to customers through increased reliability ofwater supplies
  • Leakage recovery often stands as the best source for new water resources for systemsfacing water supply shortage
  • Reduced pressure on water resources and therefore environmental improvement
  • Deferment of capital expenditure on water resources and supply schemes
  • Improved public perception of water companies
  • Applying best leakage management practice reduces liability to water supplierAPPROACHThe research team worked with one Canadian and nine U.S. utilities, representing large and small, public and private utilities from a variety of geographic regions. Participating utilities were grouped into two categories, Level 1 utilities and Level 2 utilities depending upon their level of participation in the project. All of the Level 1 and Level 2 utilities provided the researchers information about their current leakage management practices and their system characteristics, whereas only the Level 2 utilities participated in the detailed pilot testing of promising leakage management technologies.