Water Loss Manual

Texas Water Development Board
P.O. Box 13231 Austin, Texas 78711-3231 May 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page INTRODUCTION.....................................................................................................1 WATER AUDIT IMPLEMENTATION ..................................................................2 TOP DOWN AUDITS ..............................................................................................2 BOTTOM UP AUDITS ............................................................................................2 DEFINITION OF TERMS........................................................................................2 UNDERSTANDING THE METHODOLOGY........................................................3 WATER AUDIT WORKSHEET..............................................................................5 WATER AUDIT WORKSHEET INSTRUCTIONS................................................9 WATER BALANCE...............................................................................................14 PERCENTAGES VS VOLUME OF WATER .......................................................14 WATER LOSS AUDIT PROGRAM......................................................................15 METER SELECTION AND INSTALLATION.....................................................15 METHODS TO LOCATE AND MINIMIZE WATER LOSS ...............................18 PERFORMANCE INDICATORS ..........................................................................21 CONCLUSION .......................................................................................................22 RESOURCES..........................................................................................................23 FORMS AND TABLE............................................................................................25 INFORMATION HANDOUT ................................................................................35


This publication of the Water Loss Manual was developed by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) in response to HB 3338 passed by the 78th Legislature, that requires all retail public water suppliers to Texas to file a water loss audit report once every five years. This document was developed by Texas Water Development Board staff Mark Mathis. Special thanks to Andrew Chastain-Howley, George Kunkel and Julian Thornton for their knowledge and input. Additional information regarding water loss can be found at the TWDB website, www.twdb.state.tx.us or by calling Mark Mathis with the TWDB at 512-463-0987.

Local communities will be more apt to conserve once they see their water utility participating in the conservation process. with rising supply costs and the general public becoming more informed about water availability. If water was not accounted for then it was simply classified as “water loss. The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) recommends this methodology for all utilities across Texas. One could ask hundreds of utilities across the nation and they would all give a different definition of Unaccounted for Water (UFW). Now there is a category for every type of use. they will begin to view water loss with a new understanding. the industry is recognizing the need to minimize water loss. apparent loss and real loss. Based on the International Water Association’s (IWA) methodology which has been used all over the world and recently in the United States. Many utilities have not previously conducted water audits and those that have. This methodology implements new terminology that will need to be thoroughly understood: corrected input volume. mainly due to the low cost of water supply. only compare water produced to water sold.” The new method introduced in this manual eliminates UFW from being used. which requires all water utilities statewide to conduct a water audit once every five years. As water loss decreases. Water audits have not been widely utilized in the water industry. As utilities learn and implement the methods that are proven to minimize water loss. This method is being used for the implementation of HB 3338. conservation and water supply is increased. However. 1 .TEXAS WATER DEVELOPMENT BOARD WATER LOSS MANUAL INTRODUCTION All across Texas there are water availability concerns that invite utilities to perform better as water stewards. but also and the end results direct focus to problem areas. Water loss reduction is twofold. The new methodologies being used which enable water utilities to operate very efficiently. An audit from an accounting perspective is simply confirming and compiling information on the entity as a whole. authorized consumption. these methods are proven to work. treatment and distribution. Water loss and UFW have been used interchangeably. They eliminate UFW.

This type of audit is typically less expensive than a more thorough bottom up audit. They include each aspect of the utility: billing records. these smaller systems will see that obtaining valid data assists them in lowering their losses. With the current system of putting all types of loss into one category. Utilities can implement this method once they have completed several top down audits. 2 . Purchased Water – Water that has been purchased or bought from another entity. The utility confirms the data used in the top down portion.The sum of Master Meter Accuracy and System Input Volume is the amount of water that was actually put into the system. Implementing audits into the business cycle will enable the utility’s operation to become more efficient with each passing year.WATER AUDIT IMPLEMENTATION The term “water loss” is now broken down into two separate categories that enable the utility to put distribution loss into the real loss category and meter inaccuracies and theft into apparent loss. This audit will identify all internal issues that are preventing the utility from achieving high efficiency. Over a several year period. from system input volume to determine the amount of water that was actually put into the distribution system. Water Exported – Water that is transferred out of the system to a buyer where revenue is received. Water Supplied – Defined as system input volume minus water exported. Master Meter Accuracy – Obtained by calibrating master meters. TOP DOWN AUDITS Top down audits are paper audits that utilize data the utility should already have without additional fieldwork. owned. Initially. and detailed work that is required. DEFINITION OF TERMS Own Water – Water that has come from a utility’s own sources. or obtained by interconnects (water imported). accounting principles. enabling the utility to see which areas warrant more fieldwork. and all other programs within the utility. The utility checks the accuracy of the master meters. Bottom up audits are usually implemented only after the utility has a thorough understanding of the findings from the top down audit. and then either adds or subtracts this number. BOTTOM UP AUDITS This is the second part of the audit process. or a reservoir. These are referred to as “desk top” exercises. smaller utilities may see that the implementation of audits will warrant a few estimates. Corrected Input Volume . Top down audits are the method chosen for implementing the water loss reporting requirements of HB 3338. Input Volume/Water Delivery – All the water that is purchased. Utilities need to understand that it may take time before results can be expected from a meter replacement program and/or leak detection program. such as well fields. distribution system. depending on whether the meter was under or over-registering. staff hours. the utility could not focus or direct its resources to the area of the loss. water rights. Data is transferred from other reports to the water audit form. Bottom up audits are more costly due to the amount of time. The utility was simply guessing as to the area needing assistance.

Corrected Input Volume This is simply the sum of either adding or subtracting the master meter adjustment to input volume. Unbilled Unmetered – All uses that are unmetered and no compensation is received (line and hydrant flushing or any other uses that are authorized but unbilled and unmetered. fire department use and/or other operations are classified. Billed Unmetered – For all uses that have not been metered but compensation is received. these losses are incurred at the production rate. or water obtained from other sources. Because this water was available for sale. Billed Metered – The water that has been sold and for which compensation from customers has been received. illegal connections.) Water Loss – Comprised of apparent loss and real loss. Just include them under the correct category for accurate accounting. 3 . 2. inaccurate customer meters. parks. line and hydrant flushing. 3. Revenue Water – All water consumption that requires revenue collection: Water Exported plus Billed Authorized Consumption. Because this water did not have the opportunity to pass through a customer’s meter. UNDERSTANDING THE METHODOLOGY In accounting terms.the volume that was actually pumped into the distribution system. Real Loss – Consists of all types of leaks. System Input Volume The total water supplied to the infrastructure is the System Input Volume. the percentage of accuracy is documented. the water obtained through interconnects. Depending on how city offices. The utility is merely verifying that all the data being gathered is the most valid data possible. This is all the water that is actually in the distribution system and available to sell. utility operations are broken down into numerous categories with questions that should verify the data validity. This is equal to Unbilled Authorized Consumption plus Apparent Losses plus Real Losses. Once the accuracy level has been verified. Master Meter Accuracy This is the verification or the calibration of master meters to ensure their accuracy.Authorized Consumption – Consists of four sub-categories that include all authorized water use: 1. Non-Revenue Water – Water that is not billed and revenue is not received. an audit is defined as confirming and compiling information gathered on the entity as a whole. and bypassed meters. Adding this number to the uncorrected meter volume will provide the corrected input volume . With this methodology. these losses are incurred at the retail rate. System Input Volume includes: purchased surface or ground water. and storage tank overflows that occur before the customer’s meter. they can be any one of the four types of authorized consumption.) 4. Corrected Input Volume minus Authorized Consumption equals Total Water loss. fountains. Unbilled Metered – For all uses that have been metered and no compensation is received (used for treatment plant. line flushing. Apparent Loss – Consists of accounting errors. bursts.

All utilities should have a meter replacement program in place. the consumption of each connection should be metered. Real Losses – These losses are measured from the pressurized point up to the point of measurement of the customer usage. These are physical losses from the infrastructure. or billing procedures that prevent all water from being included in the water loss calculation. It is important to remember that in order to locate leaks or usage. A monthly estimate from the fire department should be more accurate than a utility’s. valves. service lines and main lines. With proper system management. pressure transients. Irrigation of city parks. meter inaccuracy. 3. lack of scheduled maintenance on valves and hydrants. mains. Billed Metered – Customer accounts whose meters are read and who are billed appropriately each month. This consists of two major sub-categories: real losses and apparent losses. because its loss is after the customer meter. Unmetered line flushing estimations may be entered for this category (see Form D). Unbilled Unmetered – A utility could have all its city/government offices/operations set up under this category. Both are considered types of water loss. pressure fluctuations. Apparent Losses – These losses occur when potential revenue water is removed from the system either through theft. Since this category determines revenue. facilities and uses. Apparent loss is figured at the retail rate. Water Exported – Water that has been authorized for use by another utility or water provider for which revenue or compensation is received. fire department use and line flushing should also be included. Fire departments should have a form to track usage that would require documentation of how many times the trucks were filled each month (see Form C). Real losses are figured at the marginal production cost of water. Non-Revenue Water 4. All connections should be metered and on the current billing cycle. Even if city offices are not billed. Water Losses This is the difference between Corrected Input Volume and Authorized Consumption. they should have a meter for determining water use.Authorized Consumption This category consists of all water that have been authorized for use or consumption. Unbilled Metered – This category could contain city/government offices. A program allowing for all construction/landscaping companies to rent a meter can be implemented. There are many reasons for leaks: poor installation and workmanship. Billed Unmetered – Requires submittal of a form documenting the amount of water used during the month. these meters are most important regarding accuracy. 1. 5. or excessive pressure. 4 . Authorized consumption includes the following sub-categories: Revenue Water 1. resulting in obtaining revenue for the water and add an additional revenue source. they can be kept to a minimum. 2. All of these contribute to line loss. 2.

Volume master meter did not account for: Corrected Input Volume .census.All water sold but not metered: Non-Revenue Water Unbilled metered .gov/servlet/SAFFPeople? Population served: _______________________________________________________________ Note: unit of measure (acre-foot or million gallons) must stay consistent throughout report 1.The total of all Authorized water: ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ 5 .Amount of water put into delivery system: Master Meter Adjustment . AUTHORIZED CONSUMPTION Revenue Water Billed Metered .us/mapping/maps/pdf/sb1_groups_8x11.______________ System Input Volume .City and local government use.state.twdb.Line flushing/fire dept use: (estimate) Authorized Consumption .All water sold: Billed Unmetered . metered line flushing: Unbilled unmetered .tx.WATER AUDIT WORKSHEET Utility Name: _________________________________________________________________ Type of Utility: (circle one) WSC MUD WCID SUD CITY Other______________ Regional Water Planning Group(s) in which this system operates: ________________________ http://www.Water delivery plus/minus Master Meter Adjustment: ______________ 2. SYSTEM INPUT VOLUME MG ACRE-FT OTHER_______________ ______________ +/.pdf Name of person completing this form: ______________________________________________ Phone number of person completing form (with area code) ______________________________ Mailing address of utility: ________________________________________________________ Reporting Period: From ____________________ Percentage of water used: Surface___________ To____________________________ Groundwater________________ Mean household income of population served: ________________________________________ http://factfinder.

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WATER LOSS Apparent Loss Customer Meter Under-Registering – Inaccurate customer meters Billing Adjustment/Waivers Unauthorized consumption (theft or estimate) Total of Apparent Loss Real Loss Storage tank overflows (estimate) Main break/leaks: (estimate) Customer service line leaks/breaks: (estimate) Total of Real Loss Total Water Loss = Apparent Loss + Real Loss 4.3.50/1000 Total Apparent Loss Retail cost of water Total Apparent Loss multiplied by retail cost of water: (Example from instruction sheet) Apparent Loss x $4. TECHNICAL PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Performance Indicators for Real Loss Number of service connections Number of miles of main lines Service connections divided by miles of main Total Real Loss/Miles of Main/365 Total Real Loss/No._______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ 7 . of Service Connections/365 5.25/1000 ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ ______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ _______________ +/. FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE INDICATORS Total Real Loss Production cost of water Total Real Loss multiplied by production cost of water: (Example from instruction sheet) Real Loss x $2.

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• Note the reporting period. if the meters are 103 percent accurate and subtract the adjustment due to the over registering of the meter.Is obtained by dividing the Water Delivery by Water Meter Accuracy and multiplying by 100.674 = 374.96 = 9. A few general notes on the first section: • List the Regional Water Planning Group in which the utility is located.03.993 d. Master meter adjustment . System Input Volume a. Example: 8. • Remember that the type(s) of source water used must total 100%. or obtained through interconnects and purchased water. Water Delivery – Includes all water pumped.983.Is obtained by subtracting Water Delivery from the Corrected input volume. • Use the web address on the reporting form to locate the mean income of population served. c. The master meters have registered more water than the actual pumped amount.319 Note: If meters are over registering. Master Meter Accuracy . Example: Water Delivery is 8.993 – 8. This information may be determined by using the website listed on the reporting form.357. This is the sum of all master or source meters for the year. Example: Water Meter Accuracy is 96%.983. • Estimate the population the utility serves (this is not the number of service connections).WATER AUDIT WORKSHEET INSTRUCTIONS This instruction guide is designed to aid in completing the Water Audit Reporting Form and submitting the most accurate data available. The data may be obtained by metropolitan area. Example: 9.Is achieved by calibrating the master or source meters to determine the accuracy level expressed as a percentage. county. 9 . 1. and/or zip code. • Use consistent units in reporting the data. divide Water Delivery by 1.983. either million gallons or acre-feet.674 gallons b. This information will aid in determining which operational areas may need assistance. Either a calendar or fiscal year may be used. produced.674 ÷ .357. Corrected Input Volume.

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b. Real Loss a. Example: If the utility waived 28.408 gallons 7.2. Billed Metered – All water sold that has been metered. Enter all unmetered flushing here. Water Loss A. d.270. Example: Total Water Sold that has been metered = 7.000 million gallons 7.Amount of water lost due to storage overflows. b.408 – 7.270.98 = 7. B. Billed Unmetered – All water sold but not metered. Authorized Consumption a. Customer Service line Leaks – Amount of water lost through service line leaks. Unbilled Metered – Unbilled water but is metered. Corrected Input Volume . c.000 would be entered.04 and then subtract that amount.125. Apparent Loss a. Note: Authorized Water Usage may be subtracted from the Corrected Input Volume to obtain Total Water Loss for the year.125.408. Tank Overflows . Example: If a customer moved into a new home and began to use water without authorization.000 gallons due to leaks on the customer’s side during the year. Simply divide the Total Water Sold by accuracy level of meters.Authorized Water Usage = Total Water Loss 3.125.000 = 145. Unauthorized Consumption – Estimate amount of water lost due to theft. Note: The sum of Total Water Loss and Authorized Consumption equals Corrected Input Volume. Real Loss estimates should be as accurate as possible.000 ÷ . can be an estimate. Main Leaks/Breaks – Amount of water lost through main leaks and breaks. b. c. c. 11 . Billing Adjustments/Waivers – Amount of water that was waived during the audit year. gallons not recorded by meter. Unbilled Unmetered – Unbilled water that is not metered. Note: If meters are over registering by 4 % then divide Water Delivery by 1. Enter all metered flushing here. Customer Meter Under Registering –If customer meters are 98% accurate. that means the meters are 2% under registering. 28.

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Value of Current Real Loss Example Total of Real Loss = 1.4. Use the Total Real Loss number from the reporting form. then divide by 3. of Service Connections/Day 1. The first formula is Total Real Loss/Miles of Main/Day.625. 365 (days in a year) 4. 365 (days in a year) 4. 5.408 x 4. The second formula is Total Real Loss/No. Value of Current Apparent Loss Example Total of Current Loss = 189.063. divide by 3.394 x $2.25/1000 = retail rate 189. Record this number where indicated.00 (Value of Current Apparent Loss/year) 13 . Number of Service connections.50 (Value of Real Loss /year) 2.625.25/1000= $805.408 gallons $4. then divide by 2. Record this number where indicated.00 $805.50/1000 = production cost 1.394 gallons $2. divide by 2. Use the Total Real Loss number from the reporting form. Miles of Main lines. 1. Technical Performance Indicators Performance Indicators are quantitative measures of key aspects within the utility. Financial Performance Indicators 1.50/1000= $4.50 $4. With the use of these indicators. each utility will have a history to track performance.063.

Unbilled Authorized Consumption. Percentages do not associate a volume or a cost to the lost amount.WATER BALANCE Below is an example of a water balance with the terms as presented in this manual. Apparent Losses and Real Loss equal Water Loss. VOLUME OF WATER How well is the utility managing their water? Currently. water loss was only one category. almost trying to diminish their water loss by trial and error. nor do they aid the utility in determining where to focus their resources. That practice prohibited the utility from pinpointing loss. Under this percentage method of water loss. Water Exported Own sources Input Volume Water Supplied Authorized Billed Authorized Revenue Water Billed Water Exported Consumption Consumption Billed Metered Purchased Water Water Loss Billed Unmetered Unbilled Unbilled Metered Authorized Consumption Non Unbilled Unmetered Apparent Revenue Unauthorized Consumption Loss Water Customer Meter Inaccuracies Real Leakage on Mains Loss Leakage and Overflows/Storage Leakage on Service lines PERCENTAGES vs. Without associating a cost or method to determine where the loss is coming from. Apparent Loss and Real Loss equal Non-Revenue Water. the industry uses a method to determine water loss by using a percentage based on water sold to water billed that is unable to show where in the system the loss is occurring and/or how much the loss cost the utility for the year. • • • • Authorized Consumption and Water Loss equal Water Exported and Water Supplied Billed Authorized Consumption equals Revenue Water equals Billed Exported Water. They associate volumes of water with 14 . In the past. the utility is guessing where to spend time and money. Now water loss has two subcategories. apparent loss and real loss. Billed Metered Consumption and Billed Unmetered Consumption. the utility cannot expect to effectively diminish cost while conserving a natural resource that is vital to life.

calibration and replacement programs are strongly recommended. thereby creating more inaccurate data. The addition or subtraction of Master Meter Adjustment to System Input will achieve Corrected Input Volume. When the utility considers water loss to be high.000 gallons. After determining meter accuracy by calibrating or verifying the flow to the master meters. Whether they are city offices or commercial properties. the sum is only 900. If apparent loss is the main source of loss.000. both short term and long term plans need to be achievable. not System Input. Due to the volume of water passing through these meters. but as the utility combines Authorized Consumption with Total Water Loss.000 gallons off on some of their estimations. Not only is the utility unsure of the volume of water used by that customer. Master Meters Correct installation of production meters is important to maintain accuracy. the first step is to develop a systematic plan that reduces the volume of loss to an acceptable level. it is impossible to accurately determine water loss volume when there is not a meter on that particular connection to verify volume of use. corresponding with the year-end audit. 15 . It is so important to eliminate all possible inaccuracies within the utility. they believe that they are 100. and implementing meter testing and replacement programs. the utility would either add or subtract the number of gallons to the System Input. and there should be ten diameters on the downstream side of the meter. because of the master meter is under registering by 100. but they are also unsure if any water loss is occurring between the point of connection with the utility’s pipe and the customer’s pipe. IMPORTANCE OF METERS All meters within a system are important because they record water flow and provide data that determines water loss and revenue. WATER LOSS AUDIT PROGRAM After conducting a top down water audit the utility must develop procedures needed to increase overall efficiency of the utility. As with any business.000 gallons. Utilities not calibrating master meters for Master Meter Adjustment may be putting water into the distribution system that otherwise would be considered loss. Therefore. If real loss is the main source of loss.000. when in actuality they are off by 200. then focused efforts should be on minimizing theft. depending on whether they are under or over-registering. reviewing accounting methods. Estimated costs should be developed and included for each plan. The calibration can be conducted at the end of the utility’s business cycle each year. Remember that Authorized Consumption plus Total Water Loss must equal Corrected Input Volume. it is even more critical that they maintain high accuracy. and explain how each category fits into the overall understanding of a water loss program. Some utilities may elect not to meter certain connections. Meter companies have charts that list accuracy limits for each size and type of meter. A total of at least ten and preferably fifteen pipe diameters of straight pipe should be in front (upstream side) of the meter. this would mean that 4 inch pipe would need 10 times that number of straight pipe. Most manufacturers recommend that meters be installed on only straight runs of pipe. then implementation of leak detection programs and a thorough review of the distribution system should occur. Correctly interpreted.000. Meter testing.either a retail cost or production cost which enable the utility to focus available resources where they are most effective. it is recommended that meters 2 inches and larger be calibrated every year. For example: The utility reads all source meters for the entire year and sums them to get a System Input volume of 1. For meters with high gallons per minute flows. The timing of this procedure would also ensure that the meters are accurate for the beginning of the new business cycle.

they would be more effective in this example. Accounting software can be purchased that will notify staff when meter limits are reached. Look at the entire system to ensure meter installations are correct for each application. The majority of residential meters will read predominantly in the customer’s favor. Depending on water chemistry and customer use patterns. first out (LIFO). then this particular meter is being used too close to its design limits. Water chemistry along with age can affect the accuracy of meters. replacing the oldest first. because a utility would have received compensation for the water had it been recorded. Once these programs are implemented. after the homeowner occupies the residence. However. Inaccurate customer meter problems are twofold. Meter replacement programs can be implemented by reviewing each meter’s age throughout the utility. it may take time to see revenue increases and/or water loss volumes diminish. Meters are cash registers. After implementation of a meter replacement program.” The utility may have to explain that the volume of water consumed may not have increased. and it is in the best interest of the utility to implement programs that are designed to maximize the efficiency of these meters. the utility may see an increase in phone calls requests for meter verification. This new application now causes the meter to inaccurately register an unknown percentage of water. Proper meter selection begins with knowing the authorized water use of each end user. but. “it’s impossible that I used that much water. Different brands of meters may have different life expectancy. The cost to initiate and maintain a meter replacement program can be outweighed by the benefits of initiating such a program. If the use is 160 gpm for 2 hours per day. The same rules apply to large meters. Apparent Loss is a volume of water that is associated with the utility’s retail rate. Small residential 5/8 x 3/4 meters should be installed with either a 5/8 or 3/4 line.Correct meter application is as important as meter accuracy. then the water flow and pressure has changed and this application will cause the water to be recorded inaccurately. but the majority of its use it is only reading 5 to10 gpm. If the 4 inch meter is installed on a smaller pipe. This example could be applied for a residence on a large tract that is being irrigated by a sprinkler system. the initial meter application may change. Large subdivision builders will often hire subcontractors to install meters and the final inspection is then conducted by the managing utility. 16 . as a result. Installation of accurate metering will save significant revenue and is worth the time invested. residential disc meters are calibrated to read from 1/4 of a gallon to 20 gpm. A 2 inch turbine meter will read water moving from 2 to175 gpm. utilities will not receive the compensation otherwise due to them. the total volume of apparent loss will be inaccurate and lead to more estimates in the total water loss equation. which can result in lost revenue for the utility. an increase in revenue. with a continuous flow of 8-10 gpm. The accuracy level of any customer meter is just as important as that of the master meters. Implementation of meter replacement programs will not only show a decrease in apparent loss. Meters should be able to accurately record the full range of expected flow rates. Last in. record management and theft are the three sub-categories that make-up the category of Apparent Loss. Accounting for all water should be the number one priority for the utility. Meters are sometimes installed according to the pipe size in the ground without considering whether the meter size matches the demand. a 4 inch meter should be installed on a 4 inch pipe. Because compound meters have two meters side-by-side and are designed to read low flows and high flows. The utility needs to know the operating limits of each type of meter being used within the system so that the correct meter can be installed for each application. Under normal operating conditions. residential meters may need to be replaced when they “roll over” or when they reach 8 to 10 years old. as users may report that. Residential Meters Residential meters. The homeowner may install irrigation systems that exceed the limits of the current 5/8 meter. but the water is now more accurately accounted for due to the meter replacement program. is a marketing term that can be used with these programs.

Peak summer demand. In order to eliminate theft when an account is closed. Main Line Leaks. They are considered real loss. because. rate design. Since the loss of this water occurred at or after the customers meter it will have a retail cost associated to it. Rental agreements can offset costs of others taking water without proper authorization. A utility may want to verify this with several bills having different amounts of water consumption so that the utility can have a high confidence level with the billing software. Accounting errors can present challenges for the utility. It is considered an apparent loss because the meter did record the volume of water. Service Line Leaks and Storage Tank Overflows These are sub-categories within Real Loss and because the water did not go through a customer meter. 17 . including metered uses and billing records. It is considered Apparent Loss because it was in the distribution system ready to sell. One method for theft is for the utility to install a meter on a given hydrant and to have the water truck circumvent the system by hooking up to the hydrant side that does not have a meter on it. The information obtained from a utility’s meter and billing system is vital to many parts of its operation. follow the volume through the billing program to ensure that it does not become a real loss or the volume is not lost altogether. Good data management. A prime example is when the utility changes the amount billed or waives a portion of the water used due to a leak or some reason. design information. In order to more accurately track hydrant flushing. Theft of water can occur by construction companies tapping into fire hydrants. data incorrectly transferred on meter readings. Some utilities attach a sign to the hydrant that states. However. Meters. and/or unauthorized connections by residential customers. This can be done by reviewing a percentage of bills and calculating the usage by the individual revenue tiers to ensure the billing program is calculating the consumption to the right revenue tier. The price needs to be set high enough to pay for an estimated amount but not too high to consider taking water from the other side. provide record of the utility’s past performance and future potential revenue. changes in water use patterns. as previously discussed. real loss is all the water that went through the master/source meters but has not gone through a customer’s meter. the utility could implement the use of a diffuser with a pressure gauge that measure flow by pressure. Since this is “produced” water. Theft of Service This is the third sub-category of Apparent Loss. it was taken before the water had an opportunity to go through a meter and generate revenue. They all consist of accurate measurement of a loss and recorded so that the utility would have received compensation.Record Management and Billing This is the second sub-category within Apparent Loss. Except for storage tank overflows. record management and theft of service are all part of Apparent Loss. Examples of these challenges include: non-billing or accounting of every connection. and system stability all depend on accurate and current records. the utility could choose to remove the meter instead of turning the valve off or locking the valve closed. Where within the billing records did the unbilled water go? Even though the billing department chose to waive the volume of water for customer satisfaction. and customer water usage data being altered during the billing cycle. Some utilities have begun to charge a rental fee for supplying meters that would cover the rental cost plus the cost of selling the water. A utility can also create a program that entails labeling all fire hydrants and working with local law enforcement officials to notify them of unauthorized activity on fire hydrants. “Unauthorized users will be prosecuted. Another administrative practice is to verify that the retail “tier structure” is billed correctly and generating the appropriate revenue. it is calculated at a production rate. these sub categories are generally expensive and time consuming due to the difficulty in locating and repairing the leaks. the lost volume is associated with a production cost.” Illegal taps are more likely to occur where a customer may be able to install a separate tap to irrigate a lawn or water livestock without being seen by neighbors.

Due to pressure differences between the outside plumbing and inside plumbing. Once the utility has done all the steps suggested here. METHODS TO LOCATE AND MINIMIZE WATER LOSS This section shows how a utility can utilize several water loss techniques to locate loss within the system and conduct a bottom up audit. As discussed earlier. financial rewards will be realized. they were referred to as pin maps because of the color of pin that is placed on the map. 3. but are not limited to: 1. Pin maps can be created using Geographic Information System (GIS). has their flow accuracy been tested? 10. The operations manual can be used by all staff during emergencies and when key personnel are out of the office for extended absences. If they are close to reaching their operational limits. Bottom up audits are the next step for utilities wanting to achieve a higher level of efficiency. 5. lawn and garden chemicals from a hose-end sprayer could enter the house plumbing if anti-siphon devices are not used on the outside faucets. Historically. therefore appropriate staff should be chosen to conduct this study. This study occurred on systems that fully implemented this water loss methodology. line flushing form (Form D) and the leak repair summary report (Form E)? 6. Residential meters should be 5/8 x 3/4 inch or similar. it is important that all leaks and repairs to the infrastructure are updated. Does the same booster pump come on first every time? Equipment longevity can be extended if a different pump starts each time. PVC or iron)? Note the size of each. Pin maps are an important asset to 18 . blue for main leaks and other colors for each scenario that may arise. Is there an interconnect with another utility? Make sure they have properly installed check valves. this type of audit is verifying that the data used is the most accurate and current possible. A study done in Great Britain concluded that systems having more than 32 connections per mile had the majority of their leaks on the service lines and utilities with less than 32 connections per mile had the majority of their leaks on the main lines. maintenance costs and productivity levels can be reviewed. essentially eliminating the need to look for more water. Each task should be represented by its own color. the number of service line leaks also increase.When development occurs and the utility takes on more connections. red indicated service line leaks. Meters allow water to flow in the opposite direction. along with substantiated water savings. They highlight issues within the utility that are preventing the utility from effective loss control. Is the utility aware of the location of all valves? 4. the utility should create a Utility Operations Manual that includes all the above information. After this particular study. System Investigation System investigation requires extensive knowledge of the utility’s infrastructure. These will prevent household water from re-entering the utility’s main lines. Pin Maps Pin maps show the entire infrastructure from the meters and valves to all service and main lines. It is imperative that the map be updated frequently. billing procedures. the map may be periodically updated with relatively small cost. 7. the creation of pin maps will be the next step in minimizing water loss. In performing the audit. so that all staff members can refer to it at any time.e. For example. Types of storage tanks and stand pipes. or by an engineer. Are they installed correctly? 9. With time. Is the utility implementing the use of forms for the fire department (Form C). Even if the utility has this map electronically. The map should be large enough to show the entire system. Items that should be studied include. By using GIS. Does the entire field staff know the system thoroughly? Meters should have check valves and/or backflow prevention devices. 2. What type of pipe is in the ground (i. This information can be applied to the pin maps. Are all meters the right size for each particular connection? 8.

water from a leak may not surface near its source or may not surface at all. tested and replaced. the repair crew can implement Form B. Having a map with clusters of pins appearing on a particular section can indicate the need to replace the section rather than repair it with another clamp. Leak detection methods include using a variety of flow measurement devices. Leak Detection and Repair To be effective. As the utility implements a leak detection program the first leaks located will be the larger ones. reduced future repair costs and deferred plant expansion. the utility should be aggressively involved in leak detection and line repairs. Form A. As with most acoustical equipment. 19 . They can be programmed to control many operations that can give staff more time for other projects. inexpensive and easy to use. Referred to as leak finders. The map may be used as a visual aid to justify expenses to the board of directors. a leak detection program can pay for itself in reduced water production costs. to aid in prioritizing leaks. the LEAK DETECTION AND REPAIR WORKSHEET. Develop a water loss program. the LEAK DETECTION SURVEY DAILY LOG. Acoustical leak detectors consist of headphones and a ground microphone. Distribution Controls These are factors controlling the overall distribution system. This type of listening device tends to be lightweight and easier to use than others types of leak detectors. they will find the leak within a range of several feet. leak detection and repair should be a continuous program. As each leak is being repaired. They are practical. Water Leak Survey These surveys are part of the leak detection program. leaking pipe. except when the water loss from the system is very low. use Form E for a template. is a useful document to aid in maintaining a successful leak detection program. In addition to saving the water lost through leakage. The process should be repeated in order to locate the smaller leaks that were not heard due to the background noise of the larger leaks. Sonic and acoustic devices are used to detect leak sounds in mains or service lines. alleviating the need to hire additional staff. Make an effort to discover the leaks before they cost the utility more money. If the utility does not already use a form for the estimation of these leaks. but this may not always be the case An ongoing leak detection program is essential. Even as recordkeeping is improved and meters are being installed. Clay soil is considered impermeable and will normally keep water from going deeper and into the next lower strata. Don’t rely on customers to report leaks. They also maintain pumping and pressure controls and will even monitor storage tanks. Studies have generally shown that the life of a leak often depends on the type of subsoil. Is Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) installed on the system? SCADA systems can be used to manage many aspects in the utility’s day-to-day operations.the utility and may aid in justification for replacing sections of old. Note all points of water loss on the pin maps. an estimate of the leak location is needed. and refer to the map when fieldwork begins. In areas with sandy soil or limestone strata. Have a staff meeting on water loss with all field personnel and gather input while prioritizing their ideas and/or locations of water loss in the order of importance.

If testing all meters is not possible. While testing the meter. is to purchase them and then subcontract out to smaller systems. a 5-10 percent sample test can represent the entire system. efficiency matters concerning testing experience. They will only be as accurate as the information programmed into the device. and quality control issues. 20 . To ensure accuracy. The correlators will transmit information to the logger. This method is conducted by isolating a section of pipe. it should be done at night to eliminate large water usage or at least minimize the use. This accuracy enables a utility to save money by only removing a small section of pavement. lay the garden hose meter next to the “in-line” meter and turn the faucet on and watch both meters simultaneously. then the installed meter has inaccuracy potential. Correlators use two transmitters to locate leaks. they can be located. Meter size is also an important aspect of meter accuracy. or if it has been consistent for several days or weeks. another possible leak indication. ensure that it is not only installed correctly but that it is the correct meter for the application. notify each affected customer by placing flyers on their door so that water use may be kept to a minimum. Utilities should also monitor pumping stations at night to see if the pumps are staying on longer than normal. Apply the same principle to a 4 inch meter so that they are not installed on pipe larger or smaller than the meter. Leakage rates may also be estimated by using Table 1. TWDB has ultrasonic flow meter verification equipment available for free 30-day loans. To verify flow.” Obtain a new meter and attach meter spuds or tails that allow it to be connected to a garden hose. Distinct Management Area (DMA) Distinct Management Area (DMA) is a proven method implemented by closing valves and isolating sections of the system during nighttime hours. One method used by large municipalities to offset the expense of correlators. Monitor the booster pumps. If the in-line meter is inaccurate. This equipment is used to verify flow from source/master meters and determines the need for meter calibration. which indicates the leak location. as a loss of pressure is another indication of water loss. make note of the difference and then go to the next house and repeat this procedure. read the large meter at the valve to see if significant volumes of water registered. By doing so. For the test to be most effective. Some meter companies also sell portable testing equipment that can be used in the field. as they are able to locate a leak within several inches. many utilities now pay outside testing firms to conduct all their tests. and then employ correlators to pinpoint it within inches. Once programmed with the correct parameters.5 inch line. Although leaks that never come to the surface are more difficult to find. Residential meters can be tested while they are still “in-line. Determine if the pressure loss is for one day.Correlators Correlators are known in the industry as leak pin pointers. Verify that each meter size is appropriate to the size of the service line so that a residential 5/8 x 3/4 inch meter is not installed on a 1 or 1. Reading the meter at different times will determine leaks on that section and the volume of water lost. Some utilities use acoustical detectors to find the leak. Meter Testing Due to rising labor costs. the only way for water to escape is through the customer’s meters. installing a meter at the entry valve and then closing the valve on the end of the section. In the morning. If the water pressure increases as water flows into the meter or is constricted thus increasing the flow rate of water. Conducting this procedure throughout the system will help prioritize starting points for the leak detection program. Residences generally have a low consumption rate at night.

then divide by 3. whether the utility is measuring performance of employees. of Service Connections/Day 1. The volume of water being forced out of a leak at 100 psi is greater than at 65 psi. line loss or pumping station capacity. Number of Service connections. There are PIs for every aspect of the operation. Use the Total Real Loss number from the reporting form. • Reduce wear and tear on booster pumps and pressure relief valves (PRV) • Lessen pressure exerted on infrastructure • Lessen pressure on meters and customer’s plumbing • Reduce water consumption at customer side • Reduce water loss through leaks in the system when lower pressure is used. then divide by 2.Pressure Management Excessive pressure exerted on the infrastructure can maximize wear and increase water consumption on the system as a whole. Pressure Management implementation will. 365 (days in a year) Total Real Loss/No. but they also establish a history or benchmark that can be used for comparison next year or next month. thereby conserving water when evenly lowering the pressure throughout the system. Higher pressures also exert more wear on a system. Miles of Main lines. Below are two examples: Total Real Loss/Miles of Main/Day 1. 365 (days in a year) 21 . PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (PI) These are indicators that measure utility efficiency in a particular area of operation. PIs are designed to assist the utility in achieving a higher degree of efficiency. Not only will indicators show how efficient the utility is today. divide by 2. Use the Total Real Loss number from the reporting form. PI’s are designed so that different aspects are divided into each other to establish benchmarks. divide by 3.

CONCLUSION Water loss is not “rocket science” however. 22 . It should be noted that real loss represents a wasted resource as the utility has spent financial resources on the production of this water. With water availability decreasing and rising water treatment costs. they will be able to address and diminish water loss. By using this methodology. By minimizing water loss the utility will effectively diminish its need to locate additional water sources. the utility should have an incremental drop in water loss each year. the utility should carefully examine that one really needs to ponder every aspect of a utility to identify the main areas of water loss. Therefore. goals should be long term but certainly achievable. When the utility begins to implement water audits into their business plan. along with the implementation of audits in the utility’s operations. Audits are designed to guide the utility to the appropriate category of water loss so that the utility can focus its resources on specific areas of water loss. they can expect to become more efficient by focusing on problem areas that were identified by the top down audit. this type of audit will become more widely used. As utilities become more aware of the issues that affect water loss. As with any business plan. Minimizing water loss may minimize the search for future water resources to meet demand. it will take several years for utilities to begin to see the effects of implementing this procedure. thereby utilizing its resources effectively.

WPRC is an international water resource consultancy with worldwide experience in the assessment.E. overseeing efforts that have resulted in a reduction of over one-third of the city’s non-revenue water. has worked for the Philadelphia Water Department for nearly 25 years and has chaired the city’s Water Accountability Committee for over ten years. McGraw-Hill Helena Alegre. management and reduction of water system losses.RESOURCES Julian Thornton. Wolfram Hirnir. PERFORMANCE INDICATORS FOR WATER SUPPLY SERVICES. IWA Publishing. Texas. He is a Team Leader for International Water Association (IWA) and is the past Vice Chair for American Water Works Association (AWWA) Water Loss Control Committee. he has chaired the Water Loss Control Committee of the AWWA and has been actively involved with a number of other water loss projects sponsored by AWWA and the AWWA Research Foundation. Julian Thornton is an international water loss specialist with 25 years experience and author of “The Water loss Control Manual” by McGraw Hill. George Kunkel P. WATER LOSS CONTROL MANUAL. Additionally. 23 . Andrew Chastain-Howley is a Water Loss Control Specialist with Water Prospecting and Resource Consulting (WPRC) based in Fort Worth. Mr. Thornton is currently chairing the AWWA M36 rewrite committee and is actively working on several AWWA Research Foundation water loss control projects.

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screwdriver. soil conditions.) Estimate the total miles of main to be surveyed (excluding service lines). 5. Estimate the number of working days needed to complete the survey. 25 . Describe how the leak detection team and the leak repair crew will work together. hammer. (Items to consider include records of previous leaks. 5. Experience has shown that the best results have been obtained by listening for leaks at all system contact points such as water meters.Form A LEAK DETECTION AND REPAIR PLAN WORKSHEET Utility Name: _____________________________________Date:________________________ A. Describe the equipment and procedures that will be used to detect leaks. 6. pressures. hydrants. What measures will be used to minimize the chance of digging “dry holes”? 3. the leak detection crew might discover a leak. valves. Higher priority should be given to areas with high leak potential. type of pipe. ground settlement and installation procedures. size and type of leak or other water loss condition observed. field notebook. hydrants and blow-offs. traffic and conditions and total number of listening points. AREA TO BE SURVEYED 1. 3. In other cases. PROCEDURES AND EQUIPMENT 1. The area in the distribution system to be surveyed should be mapped using the results of the water audit. The average two-person survey crew can survey about two miles of main per day if the main is located in a city or subdivision and all valves. age of pipe. Items to consider include distances between services. 2. pinpoint it and initiate the work order. meters or other unserviceable equipment in addition to location. 4. hydrants and meters are checked. flashlight and cover key are essential items. 2. 4. If not to listening for leaks at all available listening points. A leak is normally reported by a citizen or utility employee who sees the water leaking out of the ground or building. what plans will be made for checking missed points later? A portable listening device. The leak detection team should be called in first or at the same time as the repair crew to pinpoint the leak. The leak surveyor should note broken valves. Estimate the average number of miles of main to be surveyed per day. B.

Describe the methods that will be used to determine the flow rates for excavated leaks. practical dates. Start Dates Phase 1 Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Phase 2 Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Area 1 Area 2 Area 3 Completion Dates $/day Cost Prepared by ____________________________ Date _____/_____/_____ Title ______________________________________________________ 26 . LEAK DETECTION SURVEY BUDGET Number of days Utility Crew Cost Consultant Crew Cost Vehicle Cost Cost of Leak Detection Equipment Supervision and Administration Other Costs Total Estimated Costs D. C. Formulas for calculating approximate flow rates for typical leaks are presented in Figure 1.7. LEAK SURVEY AND REPAIR SCHEDULE Indicate realistic.

Form B LEAK DETECTION SURVEY DAILY LOG Date:______________ Crew:_____________________ Survey Time:_____________________ Area:___________________________ Vehicle:______________________________________ Weather:_____________________________________________________________________ Starting Address:_________________Ending Address: ________________________________ Route:_______________________________________________________________________ Miles Surveyed:_______________________________________________________________ Brief Description of Each Leak Discovered / Suspected (Size and Location): 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Notes: Signed (Crew Chief): 27 .

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Form C WATER FOR FIRE FIGHTING AND TRAINING FIRE DEPARTMENT NAME: CITY OR SYSTEM NAME: MONTH: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 TANK SIZE: 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 MONTHLY TOTAL: (gal) 29 .

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Form D LINE FLUSHING REPORT Date Location GPM X X X X X X X X X X X X Total Gallons Time Gallons Remarks: Signature: 31 .

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Form E LEAK REPAIR SUMMARY REPORT By: Work Order #: Area/Location: Found per Leak Detection Survey (Attached)? LEAK TYPE Meter Leak Meter Spud Valve Curb Stop Service Fire Hydrant Meter Yoke Joint Main Other PIPE MATERIAL Galvanized Iron Black Iron Ductile Iron Cast Iron Polybutylene A.C.P. Steel PVC Copper Transite Crew: Date: Date Completed: OTHER INFORMATION Depth to top of pipe __________(ft) Type of bedding _________ Type of backfill __________ Leakage Rate _________(gpm) (___Measured ____Estimated) Estimated age of leak ________ Estimated water lost __________(gal) Previous repairs? _______________________________ How was leak repaired (previous/this time)?_________________________________________ _______________________________________________(Attach “Before” and “After” Photos) Shape and dimensions __________________ Original wall thickness of pipe ___________(in) System Pressure Measured ____________? Corrosion ______? Outside _____ Inside ________ COST OF REPAIRS Labor Costs: Total hours worked ___________ x Average hourly rate $ ______________ = $_____________ Equipment Cost: Equipment Used 1) 2) 3) 4) Hours Used X X X X X Cost of Equipment $ $ $ $ = = = = = Total Equipment Cost $ $ $ $ Material used Administrative/Supervisory/Other Cost Total Cost of Repairs Follow-up listing test? (date) Supervisor’s Signature 33 Cost $ $ $ OK? .

7 3.6 7.100 0.700 0.220 10 0.3 1.1 11 22 32 43 54 65 76 86 97 108 119 129 140 151 162 173 183 194 205 216 270 324 431 100 1. the size that is closest is 0.010 0.8 5.500 3.4 8.1 and 0.000 1.800 0.6 7.400 0.25 = 0.2 square inches. Area = 0.2 2.700 1.900 1.500 0.300 0.7 5.1 2. and the pressure is between 40 and 60 psi.364 The above table is based on the following formula: Flow = 2.600 1.057 1.5 2. Area – Square Inches.400 1. 34 .156 square inc From the table.6 11 13 15 11 16 20 23 15 22 26 31 31 43 53 61 46 65 79 92 61 86 106 122 76 108 132 153 92 129 159 183 107 151 185 214 122 173 211 244 137 194 238 275 153 216 264 305 168 237 291 336 183 259 317 366 198 280 343 397 214 302 370 427 229 324 396 458 244 345 423 488 259 367 449 519 275 388 476 549 290 410 502 580 305 431 528 610 381 539 661 763 458 647 793 915 610 863 1. A hole 1/8 inch by 1 ¼ inch in size at 50 psi First calculate the area: 1/8 inch = 0.5 17 26 34 68 102 136 171 205 239 273 307 341 375 409 443 478 512 546 580 614 648 682 853 1.200 0. The flow rate is going to be about 36 gpm.005 0.125 inches.000 Gallons per Minute (gpm) Pressure Pounds per Square Inch (psi) 20 40 60 80 0.600 0. Pressure – psi Example use of TABLE 1.023 1.125 x 1.5 1.8 1.900 2.1 3.Table No.075 0.1 1.100 1.050 0.000 4.4 6.300 1.5 1.4 8. 1 ¼ inch = 1.500 1. 1 Leak Rates from Holes of Known Size Area of Leak Square Inches 0.6 3.000 2.8 x Area x Square Root of (148 x Pressure) Flow – gpm.025 0.200 1.25 inches.800 1.

tx. river authorities and other types of governmental agencies. Once again.asp.0987 or access our website at www.us/assistance/conservation/consindex. http://www.463. The Panametrics (an ultrasonic device) works with transducers that are placed onto the pipe near your master meter. The Aquascope is an acoustical sounding device that will help you determine where your leaks are within your system. This workshop discusses how a system can achieve maximum efficiency by implementing a leak detection program and conducting a comprehensive water audit. To implement one or all of these services. call Mark Mathis at 512. all of this information is provided to you without cost to your utility.463. Several of these services are: providing brochures. and loaning Leak Detectors and master meter verification equipment free for 30-days. The Texas Water Development Board presenter will travel to your system and conduct the workshop. all training materials necessary will be provided. LEAK DETECTION EQUIPMENT AND SERVICES HANDOUT The Texas Water Development Board is a non-regulatory state agency that is set out to provide many services to Water Utilities around the state. water wise plants.state. The brochures we provide range in numerous topics including lawn watering. conducting Water Audit/Leak Detector Workshops.tx.us/assistance/conservation/Municipal/Water_Audit/Leak_Detection/Leak Detection_Workshop.TEXAS WATER DEVELOPMENT BOARD’S BROCHURES. Our free equipment. An agenda for the workshop and other relevant information is available by contacting Mark Mathis. information about your utility.twdb. The device has headphones and a ground microphone. A complete list of brochures can be found on our website.twdb.0987 or by accessing our website. This is a TCEQ approved workshop which entitles each operator 4 hours of credit towards the renewal of their operator’s license. We are able to send up to 500 brochures per year at no charge. The sponsoring system is responsible for providing a training room and scheduling with other systems to ensure a class size of no less than 10 attendees to be eligible for this workshop. 512.us/assistance/conservation/pubs.tx. http://www. Water Audit/Leak Detector Workshops are available anytime of the year.twdb.state. to water utilities. an Aquascope and Panametrics are both available for loan for 30-days. This equipment will verify the flow rates going through your master or source meters. Most of these are also available in Spanish.state. 35 .asp. together they work quite well in pinpointing your leaks and ruptured pipes.asp.