Non Revenue Water

Institutions and End Users can only benefit from Water Loss Programs Implemented by Utilities part 2 of 2

Financial Aspect of Water Loss Management

The costs of leak management, detection and timely repair programs include staff training, management, labor, materials and equipment. These costs are generally recovered through reduced water loss, reduced maintenance costs, lower probability of catastrophic failures and confirmation that pipes are in good condition thus preventing premature pipe replacement.

With increasing populations and income growth, piped water to homes around the world is growing and needed for positive gains in health and development. As the per capita demand for water increases rapidly during this evolution; water resources are becoming increasingly stressed, which can eventually encumber economic development. Leak management, detection and repair programs in water systems are a significant part of an overall comprehensive strategy to reduce strain on existing water resources.

Accounting for water and minimizing water loss are critical functions for any water utility that wants to be sustainable. Demand-side strategies must be part of the tools used to reduce demand, such as Water rates that escalate as more water is used and encouraging consumers through consumer rebates and education programs to install water-efficient products and efficiency practices.

Within water utilities, an organizational culture of water conservation and financial sustainability will motivate employees, customers and community at large to help reduce leakage and waste. When water conservation is seen as a priority by the population, particularly under water stress or during drought, politicians progressively are made aware of the possible water savings and will better respond to funding leak management and repair programs. The opportunities from leak management, detection and repair programs provide economic benefits that often outweigh the costs, when implemented appropriately.

The economic benefits of these programs are especially obvious when:

  • Energy costs for treatment, transport and distribution are expensive
  • Infrastructure is aging and leakage is high
  • High-profile water main breaks lead to media attention and political pressure
  • Communities are under water stress or water scarcity conditions
  • Water conservation is valued


The drinking water systems around the world can generally implement water efficiency measures that continue to deliver the same level of service to consumers while reducing overhead costs, the rate at which utilities develop new freshwater supplies, expansion of the water infrastructure and withdrawals from limited freshwater supplies. This ultimately helps improve the regions’ water quality, sustainability and aquatic habitat. In recent years, a few European countries have achieved significant reduction in water losses, deferred capital expenditure on new water resources and supply schemes, improved the service level and public health protection and improved the efficiency of the operation of the distribution system by applying best management practices in water loss control and establishing uniform and clear guidelines and regulations.