Leakage Detection and Management
A comprehensive guide to technology and practice in the water supply industry
Written by

David Butler BSc MSc CEng MICE
Published by

Palmer Environmental

David Butler David Butler has over 25 years’ experience in the UK water industry, specialising in analysis, appraisal, auditing, policy development and training in water distribution leakage management and control strategies. Internationally, he has experience of leakage policy development in major cities in India, Germany and the Netherlands. He has provided leakage management training courses in Hong Kong and Portugal, and has addressed and chaired international water engineering conferences on the subject.

Palmer Environmental Palmer Environmental is the world’s largest designer and manufacturer of specialised water leak detection equipment, with over 40 company years’ experience of meeting customers’ leak detection needs. Palmer Environmental supplies products for all aspects of leak detection, including the widest range of leak noise correlators, acoustic products, market leading noise loggers and the first economically justifiable, permanently installed leak detection system. Palmers’ design and manufacturing facility in Cwmbran, UK produces the world’s most advanced, innovative and easy-to-use water leak detection equipment. This is backed up by an international distributor network providing comprehensive service, support and training.

Published by Palmer Environmental Ty Coch House Llantarnam Park Way Cwmbran NP44 3AW Tel: +44 (0) 1633 489479 Fax: +44(0) 1633 877857 email: info@palmer.co.uk website: www.palmer.co.uk

ISBN 0-9538014-0-3

.................19 Future Considerations .......37 District Meter Areas.......... 13 Basic Leakage Growth and Active Control .....6 4...... 1.....................................................6 2...................................................................4 3.........................3 3.................... 11 Factors Influencing Leakage ...............................1 3............................................................................................45 Meter Installation Design...............................................................................................7 1.....................48 Electromagnetic Flow Meters ...................................................................................32 3......................................................................................... 4............................................................................................................................................................43 District Metering ...........................................................................9 4..............6 1...................................................................................4 1............................................................................................................................................................................8 INTRODUCTION TO LEAKAGE DETECTION The Importance of Leakage Reduction .4 2............................... 7 Leakage and Usage ........46 Mechanical Meters ..............................................................................3 4...4 4....................3 2......... 2.......................................................27 Head Loss in Pipelines.......1 1......................................................................8 4........................................................41 4............................................................................................................................................................... 3...................................................................................32 Network Analysis................................................................7 4....................................................................................................................5 DISTRICT METER AREA MANAGEMENT Distribution Network Structure ..............................44 Recent Meter Improvements ........................................2 3.............................................................7 HYDRAULICS AND NETWORK ANALYSIS FOR LEAKAGE DETECTION Introduction ..........................................................................................................................................2 1......................................................................37 Waste Meter Areas ..................51 Domestic Revenue Meters ...............................................................................................44 Meter Site Selection...30 Pipe Friction Diagrams ................................................................16 Consumer Reported Leakage...........................51 .......49 Insertion Velocity Probes ...................................................2 2.....1 2................................................................................................................................................................................................43 Waste Metering ...............................................................................................................................29 The Hydraulic Gradient ...........30 Pipe Flow Formulae.....11 METERING FOR LEAKAGE DETECTION Hierarchy of Metered Areas....3 1.........1 4...................................................................5 1.................................................CONTENTS Page 1................................................................................................................................................................................................................5 2.............................. 8 Sources of Leakage .....................................................................................................27 Energy Principles ......................................................................................5 4...........10 4........................................................................................15 Leakage Control Strategies ..................................Helix (Woltmann) ........20 2....................................................................................................................45 Meter Selection Criteria..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................2 4.....40 Links to Other Data Information Systems ........................40 Commissioning ..................................................

.....................................................................................................56 Leak Noise Correlator (LNC) ..........................................................................................................................................70 Night Lines................70 Determination of Leakage from Night Flows .............1 7.......................3 5..............................3 7...................65 Location for Mains in a 2m Footpath .........64 Leak Noise Correlation .......................................................................................................................................5 6...............6 IDENTIFICATION OF MAINS...................................................63 Infra-Red Photography.....1 8....1 6.....................................71 Necessary Checks .................................................................................8 8.................... 6.....73 Acoustic (Noise) Logging .................55 Stethoscopes (‘Listening’ or ‘Sounding’ Sticks) ..........................................................................................................................................................66 Other Location Methods ......................................72 Step Testing .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................6 5..........................................................................1 5.....................................................................................9 LEAKAGE INDENTIFICATION AND LOCALISATION Demand Patterns .......................................57 Non-Acoustic Equipment and Techniques....................5 7......................................................4 7.........................................70 The Development of Continuous Monitoring ....55 The Mobile Advanced Step Tester (MAST) ..................................................................6 8..2 8...........................64 7.............................................................5 8...................71 Large Area Sub-Division ....................................6 EQUIPMENT AND LEAKAGE DETECTION TECHNIQUES FOR TRUNK MAINS Introduction .................4 6..................................................................................................................................................................4 5...........................................65 Service Pipe Layouts ....................................................................74 ........................................................................2 6...................................................7 DETECTION EQUIPMENT Detection Principles ............5 5............................................................72 Waste Metering .................................67 8....59 6..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................2 7.............................................................................................................62 Heat Pulse Flow Meter ...................................................2 5..............................................................................3 8......................63 Pairs of Insertion Turbine Meters ....... SERVICES AND VALVES Introduction ........................ 7.......................................................................................5.................................................................................................................................................62 Meter on Bypass ..............................................66 Electronic Pipe Locators .........................4 8............. 5.............................................................................................................................55 Electronic Sounding Devices.............................................................................................65 Valve Identification ..............................................................................................................7 8..........................................................................................56 Leak Noise Loggers ......................................................... 8........................3 6..

82 Pressure Control Benefits ...........................................................................................................6 10................................................93 Policy Development through an Economic Approach .............................81 Leakage Contracts .........................................................................98 Typical Total Leakage Costs ............................................................................................79 Leak Noise Correlation ...............................................................................................4 12........................97 Cost of Leakage Detection................................................................................................................................................118 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .7 RECENT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE INTERPRETATION AND USE OF NIGHT FLOW DATA Introduction ........................125 ...............................100 12...........................................................................................................................................................................114 Estimating Background Night Flows in Individual DMAs .........................................................................................General Overview .................................................................................................................................................................................................... Follow-up and Records ..............84 Statutory Requirements and Levels of Service ..............................3 10.....3 11..........................................2 12...1 9........................... 12...................................................................................82 Pressure Control Options ........................................................................................................111 Bursts and Background Losses .....................................................2 9...........................115 Prioritising Unreported Burst Location Activities ...........................85 Pressure Reducing Valves ...80 Other Practical Points .............................2 10....81 10.........................................3 12................. 10...............................................................................................................................................5 11......................................................................82 Pressure Reduction Problems ..............9..........................................................................................................................4 10...8 PRESSURE MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT Pressure Management ................................................................................................80 Repair.............80 Confirmation .......................................................................................83 Pressure and Leakage..........................................................................................................................................111 Components of Night Flows .............................................................. 85 Identification of Areas for Pressure Reduction ......................................5 12.................................................111 Night Flow and Customer Use...........................100 Environmental and Social Costs .............6 THE ECONOMICS OF LEAKAGE MANAGEMENT Introduction ...........1 11...................................................................................................................1 10........................ 9.............................1 12.............................................................4 11.......................................................................................5 10............94 The Unit Cost of Leakage ...............................5 9.............7 10......................................................113 Losses from Bursts................. 11................................................................. CONFIRMATION AND REPAIR Sounding ..........................................87 11...............................................................79 Visual Evidence ...............................6 9...................4 9.........................................6 12..............................................................3 9............7 LEAKAGE LOCATION................................................................2 11...................................................................................................................................

6 .

Firstly. with the intent of ‘motivating’ for further leakage reductions. the Industry is having to take much more notice of its customers views. industry and agriculture are all likely to want more water due to this climate change. capable of making headlines. The climate is changing. in the UK. tough mandatory targets have been set for the Industry in the last half of the 1990s. leakage detection has been seen only as a small part of a much bigger picture. data quality.methodology. and hence to the public. 1. Consequently. applications to develop new water sources are rigorously examined in the light of leakage reduction performance. With droughts predicted more frequently. If customers are being encouraged not to waste water. and consistency of approach. with rising temperatures which are forecast to continue. and shifting. Water Suppliers had little incentive to find and repair leaks because there was seen to be a relatively plentiful resource. breadth of analysis. and to devise better strategies to manage it. robustness of the water balance. the privatisation of the Water Industry and the creation of regulatory bodies have forced Water Suppliers to more accurately quantify leakage. Leakage has been brought sharply to the attention of the media. and comparisons are being sought internationally. households. Research has indicated that customers: • • • • • • don’t think there should be any leakage do not understand the concept of economic levels of leakage listen to the media more than Water Suppliers about leakage performance have more emotional than rational views about leakage perceive a lack of leakage reduction as a profit related issue have mixed views on water conservation and supply pipe responsibility Fourthly. It has become a political issue. then the Suppliers must be seen to be doing more. a more rigorous cost/benefit assessment of economic levels of leakage has been demanded by the Industry Regulators. there have been three significant droughts in a twenty-year period that have each led to severe supply restrictions in some areas.1 INTRODUCTION TO LEAKAGE DETECTION The Importance of Leakage Reduction Traditionally. This has all changed. with reporting procedures established. Furthermore. These four aspects are summarised below.1. Thirdly. on top of the normal gradual increases. less dependable rainfall patterns. based on a five point criteria:. The performances of individual Suppliers are now readily compared in the public view. Secondly. Also. Quantity Considerations Climate Change Resource Development Limitations Increasing Demand Regulatory Considerations OFWAT Environmental Agency Drinking Water Inspectorate Customer Considerations Efficiency Perception Shareholder Expectations Legal Responsibilities Economic Considerations An Optimum Level A Consistent Strategy 7 . the cumulative effect on ground water and river supplies will be noticeable.

The Total Integrated Flow (or Water Balance) Method is a useful means of assessing the overall leakage performance for a system on an annual basis.2 Leakage and Usage Definitions Water loss may be defined as that water which having been obtained from a source and put into a supply and distribution system is lost via leaks or is allowed to escape or is taken therefrom for no useful purpose.e. it can take some time (e. 8 . a month or two) to assemble and compute. Quantity of Water into Supply The quantity of water put into supply is normally obtained from physical measurements of the water source outputs and therefore the reliability and accuracy of source water meters is of great importance. The classic leakage control formula is:U = S . including that from reservoirs and trunk mains. This is a good way of distinguishing it from the useful water supplied to both domestic and non-domestic consumers. ‘Water loss’ is usually considered as ‘leakage’ and ‘water loss reduction’ referred to as ‘leakage control’. the errors inherent in the data used make the absolute accuracy of the calculation questionable. Water Suppliers use the above formula to calculate their annual overall leakage levels by what is known as the Total Integrated Flow method (i. Population supplied (non-metered). which is grouped together as ‘accounted for’ water. is thus an important basis upon which to establish leakage control. An allowance is normally made for miscellaneous usage and non-domestic. Also. but for forward planning and financial management. non. Sum of all water accounted for by measure (metered supplies. a ‘top-down’ approach).1.g. and analysis of trends. In leakage calculations it is known as the quantity ‘S’. and can be carried out based on data which all Water Suppliers require. not just for leakage control.(M + A x P) Where U S M = = = Unknown or unaccounted for quantities of water including leakage. the term ‘unaccounted for water’ is used (called ‘U’).metered consumption. Water loss is usually quantified on the following basis: Water Loss = (Quantity of water put in to supply) (Non-domestic usage + Domestic consumption) Unaccounted for Water To allow for leakage and quantities termed as ‘other water uses’. domestic and non-domestic) Average domestic usage per capita of population. Sum of all water inputs into a system. However. its comparison area by area. It will take into account all leakage from the system. A P = = Leakage is within the unaccounted for water value ‘U’. The calculation of ‘U’.

1 illustrates the water balance. It has been difficult to calculate this per capita value figure reliably until recently. it is wasteful in resources. Legitimate Use Domestic Domestic demand is a term which includes: reasonable usage in households supplied (usually measured in the UK). This leakage beyond meters is a matter of concern.Water delivered Water delivered is defined as the amount of water delivered by the Water Supplier at the stop tap (i. rugged and reliable. Non-Domestic This component of demand is almost totally metered in the UK (only a small component is unmetered) and is designated ‘M’. However.e. but excluding meter option households for calculation purposes unreasonable. and are continuously monitored. All water usage is recorded by data logger. and data retrieval is now being automated for interrogation by telephone. It includes leakage on the customer’s side of the meter which has thus been measured and paid for. 15% of UK households are metered. excessive or extravagant use (e.. it is possible to derive values for domestic per capita consumption with a high degree of accuracy. As at year 2000. Measurement in terms of population for this component is not really helpful because metered demand can range from a small café to a large steel works. Some Suppliers expect this figure to double in the near future. Based on this data and other national studies. size and type. and relatively cheap. because even though the water is paid for. and is often expressed as a percentage of water produced. This includes allowances for excessive use and is designated ‘A’. at the boundary of its apparatus and the beginning of the private customer’s pipework). Figure 1. and by using them in a statistically structured manner. garden sprinklers left on overnight) Domestic demand in the UK is traditionally evaluated based on estimates of the population served (‘P’) and an estimate of the average daily demand. Some UK Water Suppliers operate Domestic Consumption Monitors by which volunteer households are selectively chosen by property age. plus some miscellaneous and illegal use. and if left unchecked it can lower the level of service to other customers. Non-domestic metered demand can amount to about a quarter of all water supplied. Household metering in the UK is becoming increasingly significant as Water Suppliers are required to install more and more domestic meters. the advent of the micro-chip and the modern data logger has made very significant advances in this respect.g. 9 . Water delivered therefore includes private leakage. Water Suppliers work closely with population census authorities to ensure the accuracy of estimates used. it is considered that actual water used in an average UK household is about 145 litres per head per day. Data loggers are now light. referred to as per capita demand (‘A’).

In practice. Volume of Leakage In round terms in the United Kingdom. and therefore not charged. leakage as low as 3% is claimed.Other Uses There are other quantities of water which do not reach the consumer. they are usually small in total compared to the amount going into supply. Studies have shown that bulk meters often have significant error which invariably represents an underrecording of the true quantity. However. with time. Singapore makes similar claims. sometimes not). and they take it as indicating poor practice and inefficiency. streets and other public purposes (sometimes metered and charged for. Water used for mains testing and flushing. although it is normally small. about 25% of the water leaving the treatment works is unaccounted for. Often it is more useful to express leakage in demand per property. Illegal. whilst in some developing countries the water losses can vary from 50% to 70%. Compared to other fluids such as petrol and natural gas where tiny or no leakage at all is demanded. On the other hand in parts of Northern Europe. This is not necessarily so. Figure 1. Strictly speaking these water uses are legitimate. Even the small diameter positive displacement meters used for consumer metering struggle to record very low flows. or per kilometre of main. Some water leakage rates are recorded at a rate of 30% and above (in mining areas for instance). Huge volumes of water are measured and distributed through a vast. and are counted as part of water losses. it must be accepted that errors exist and values are sometimes approximate. Meter errors occur because of: an inherent error poor maintenance ageing misreading incorrect location incorrect sizing 10 . Water for cleaning sewers. and can give rise to significant under-recording of the quantity used. impounded. aged network of pipes. and could be measured. on modern systems. it is being distributed through old and very expensive apparatus whose replacement or rehabilitation capital cost is huge. this is a simplistic statement and circumstances vary widely. and whilst calculation of leakage on a logical basis is essential. Water used to clean service reservoirs. treated and pumped should then be lost.2 illustrates the volume of leakage pertaining to the UK. Outsiders to the industry are often amazed to learn that a quarter of the water which has been gathered. and hence they are not measured. use can be a problem. Such flows occur frequently when filling roof tanks and cisterns via ball valves. water is cheap and a less dangerous product. are accountable. Errors Leakage control must be approached in the realistic knowledge that water volume measurement is subject to error. and indicates the sources. and the water mains system can only be pressurised for a few hours a day. Furthermore. and these include: Water used for fire-fighting.

strategic valves and trunk main valves may warrant this attention. Water entering the overflow system is preventable and regrettably quite common. It must be stressed that the existence of these errors does not in any way invalidate the need to calculate leakage as carefully as possible. It usually forms only a small part of the overall leakage total. or treated water onwards into the distribution mains system. Cracked walls or floors can leak water into underdrain systems.Where domestic consumption is unmeasured. Inspection of reservoir telemetry data.a variation of up to 40% can be experienced between a winter’s day and a hot summer’s day. On account of good practice and recycling. 1. should have regular inspections and planned maintenance. so it is necessary to regularly record these flows and losses. 11 . each leaking at different rates. Because of their importance and the need to preserve security of supply. all flow control valves. from considerations of their structural safety as well as for leakage. Stop Taps etc Valves. The gland sealants will deteriorate with time and sealing surfaces become worn. This creates leakage which must be controlled by the necessary maintenance. including pressure reducing valves (PRVs). particularly overnight levels. The Appendix to this section discusses further the potential for error contained within the use of the ‘Unaccounted for Water’ formula. It is nevertheless necessary to maintain and monitor reservoirs and water towers carefully. non-metered consumption is also a source of error. per capita demand and seasonal variations . age and condition. Valves. The estimation of non-domestic. up to 7% of water can be lost as part of the treatment process. Maintenance of all valves on a set frequency is not recognised as an economic activity. leakage from these structures usually only represents a small proportion of overall water loss. errors can obviously occur because of incorrect assessments of customers served. Distribution mains are an inheritance of different pipe materials. but often pipes of 300m and above are considered in this category in the UK. Cracks and joint degradation can be checked for during a regular cleaning programme. There is no definitive size range.3 Sources of Leakage Treatment Works At the beginning of the water works operation. stop taps etc need glands to operate effectively. Trunk Mains and Aqueducts Trunks mains can carry raw water into a treatment works. can often be a useful indication of leakage. aqueduct leakage is usually detected and repaired quickly. Service Reservoirs and Water Towers Again. hydrants. However. Hydrants. Similarly. Distribution Mains Distribution mains (including trunk carrier mains within them) represent the major source of water leakage in a water supply system. this amount can be reduced to 2-3% and is not usually included when leakage control is referred to. Periodic operation of a valve will help prevent the need for repairs.

is notoriously difficult. each of which can fail. For instance. Private Pipework Above Ground This leakage is considerable and varies greatly with the season. galvanised iron or polyethylene. and in default may have to do the work themselves and recharge it to the customer. out-buildings may have been erected over the pipes. Access to repair on private supply pipes. or cranked through a tight radius. Much galvanised iron is now nearing the end of its life and is in an advanced state of corrosion. although the best of the modern materials and giving excellent performance. However. Pipe Joints Pipe joints are a major source of leakage. There is also a suprising increase in the number of such leaks reported. copper. National UK investigations have shown that underground private leakage is greater than previously thought but it is only significant on a few properties (approx. and it is the UK experience that the offer of a free repair service greatly helps in terms of time. particularly common supplies. On domestic premises. Pipes burst more often in the winter! On non-domestic premises. can crack when laid wrongly. Again. Repair of supply pipes is a private responsibility usually enforceable by the Water Supplier but it is nearly always a protracted process. material and condition once more vary widely but also there is often the added complication of shared responsibility on common or joint supply pipes. especially of the mechanical type. Continued effort by the Water Supplier to pursue these leaks is needed. Underground Private Supply Pipes These frequently leak seriously. Joints may have been fabricated in a faulty manner and remain water-tight for a few years only. internal corrosion can be a significant problem and may prevent a leak-tight shut off. materials and conditions. Copper pipe can be subject to pin hole attack. compounded by large numbers of very similar specialist parts. dripping taps and leaking ball valves accumulate to a significant component of the total. any leakage is metered and hence paid for.External corrosion of valves and hydrants is not generally a reason for failure. these Water Supplier owned pipes may comprise many ages. and polyethylene. An ‘O’ ring may look to be the correct fitting but begin to leak the day after it has been back-filled. are a common source of trouble. Leaking mains’ ferrules will generally have to be replaced. and they can leak seriously. The types of failures experienced with stop taps are usually leakage from joints or the inability to operate the valve through corrosion or washer failure. Service Pipes These too are a large source of leakage. Service pipe joints. Water Suppliers may use special notices to require leakage repair. Joins to the mains at one end of the communication pipe (mains ferrules) and to the stop tap at the other are a particular source of trouble. Ground movement as a pipe trench settles can overload the joint and induce leakage. over the years. Service pipes may be of lead. 1 in 300). Age. 12 .

Aggressive Water Water fed into supply should be carefully controlled for quality.4 Factors Influencing Leakage Types of Mains Old iron mains still form the majority of mains and they are the worst culprits for leakage. Cases of subterranean caverns beneath metalled roadways are known where the escaping water hollows out a void by its pressure jet. or temporary change. This may occur steadily. which may be finally precipitated by an increase in pressure. Steel mains only form a small proportion of mains and these are usually in aqueducts with cathodic protection. UPVC pipes are not thought to contribute largely to the total water lost. or wish to afford. then it will worsen. nature. Iron mains can then crack and leak. which can only be good for the future. necessitating welded patch repairs. a hard winter induces ground movement in the “freeze/thaw” cycle and this causes a high number of bursts. or holes form due to the corrosion process. Soil Conditions Clearly soils influence corrosion and leakage rates. or cannot afford. In a similar way a long drought causes ground movement. Once the leakage occurs. Climate and Ground Movement Seasonal variations in climate have a marked effect upon leakage levels. repairs. MDPE (polyethylene) pipes are still a relatively recent introduction but their performance to date is excellent. and the pipes usually fail by shattering. Concrete lining of iron mains virtually stops internal corrosion but has no effect on external corrosion. In practice the enforcement of bylaws/regulations is very onerous. polyethylene pipes are still being improved/developed. Certain natural waters have a higher rate of attack on iron pipe than others. Joint ring failure is sometimes a problem. One faulty ball valve alone can account for up to 50 l/day. A Water Supplier may have statutory ‘bylaw’ provisions which it can enforce concerning the size. materials strength and workmanship of waste fittings. It should be checked to ensure that it is not plumbo-solvent. acting as a beam under load. Continued effort and allocation of resources is needed to contain this type of leakage. Steel fails usually with pin holing. Trench back-fill of sulphate-rich ashes is especially corrosive. flow. yet if it is not pursued leakage persists. Furthermore. They may be able to forbid the use of fittings conducive to leakage or undue consumption. and the subsequent collar repair can be a source of future trouble. For instance. and may be able to enforce their maintenance. or rapidly degenerate into a large burst. 13 .Faulty fittings within a house can cause significant loss of water. Some light soils scarcely affect the pipes whilst others such as Lias clays or alluvium are very aggressive. 1. They suffer from both external and internal corrosion attack which progressively weakens them. Leakage often occurs on old or neglected property where the occupiers do not understand their responsibilities. and again often results in an increase in the number of bursts. provided they are jointed properly. Failures in the early plastic pipes have been frequent in large diameter sizes. Asbestos cement mains normally fail by cracking.

Sudden saturation of dried out sub-soil can also cause problems through local ‘heave’. It should be noted that this can also be created by excavation adjacent to the thrust block destroying passive ground pressure at the supporting face. It would ensure that all mains with unrestrained flexible joints had appropriately sized and positioned concrete thrust blocks at all changes of direction and blank ends. and be of the correct operational capabilities. It was common before that time. 14 . considering such factors as peak flow. Removal of support from thrust blocks can lead to excessive joint movement. be of a high quality.Long periods of hot. This must be avoided by reference to guidance in bylaws/regulations/standards etc. fire fighting requirements and future development. will prevent the temptation to ‘force’ more water through by increasing pressures at a later date. bedding. such tape should have a metallic strip incorporated to assist with location equipment. Extra care should be given to repair work. All mains and services should be laid with the correct amount of cover to the surface. thus preventing incidental damage and ensuing leakage. Such design would assess the need for cathodic protection of steel and ductile iron mains. particularly from a water quality point of view. Oversized mains also need to be avoided. Dissimilar Metals Dissimilar metals between pipes and fittings (e. will create corrosion and eventual leakage. and appropriately distanced from other underground services. Quality of Materials It is obvious that all materials used in the distribution system must comply with relevant standards for long term usefulness. jointing and backfilling must be to a high standard. This may distort leakage estimates for particular years. in turn. Workmanship There is no substitute for good workmanship of the initial installation in preventing future leakage.g. juxtaposition of copper and stainless steel) can cause galvanic corrosion. as a repair does represent a potential weakness to the integrity of the system. be appropriate to the surrounding conditions. The use of marker tape sited 300mm above the main will alert excavation to the presence of the main. Mining subsidence can create successive tension and compression of the pipework causing joint movement or failure of the pipe. It should also be noted that this now obsolete practice can make service pipes (and mains to some extent) electrically live and dangerous. dry weather bring about high demand and a disproportionately high domestic per capita consumption. and faulty electrical fittings can create a “to earth” potential onto water pipes which. Electrical Earthing Electrical earthing of buildings to the water fittings has been prohibited in the UK since 1961. Network Design A properly designed distribution system should prevent some vulnerability to leakage at the outset. Temporary earth loops must be used. laying. Where plastic pipe is used. Pipe handling. Correct sizing of mains at the outset.

Ironically. time to detect. determined detection. 15 . and to maintain supplies to customers. the repair of bursts and leakage showing on the surface. This factor is very important in leakage control. Leakage will only be reduced by sustained. or by targeted mains replacement.3 illustrates this for a constant pressure of water. and that poor substitutes are not used for permanent repairs. Disturbance of the Distribution System Severe pressures can be generated by the rapid operation of isolating valves. The former has little. and the elimination of poor pressure and flow complaints. thus precipitating bursts and leakage.It should also be ensured that the same standards apply to repair materials. The longer a leak is left to run. This is particularly relevant when mains scraping and relining is taking place. Pressure High pressure equals high leakage. It should therefore be recognized that a realistic and consistent level of renewal of the infrastructure is an essential part of leakage strategy development. and corrosion is mostly internal). Age of System The ageing process cannot be stopped. A leak running for a long time can waste just as much water as catastrophic trunk main burst which is repaired quickly. The Size of the Hole This may seem obvious but it is very important to remember that a small increase in the size of the leak has a big effect in terms of volume leaked. that is. This is required to prevent damage to persons and property. 1. The modern techniques of mains replacement have substantially cut excavation and backfilling costs. is the minimum possible response. and rapid repair. swabbing and air scouring. It is essential that the renewal of service pipes is included in such work for the greatest benefit. This may be achieved by targeted mains relining (where iron pipes are in use. would grow to a point where supplies were unsustainable. Duration of the Leak A speedy location and repair of leaks is essential to reduce waste levels. controlled manner. if any. ‘Find and Fix Fast’ is an appropriate axiom. and without action to curb it. Passive control.5 Basics of Leakage Growth and Active Control Natural Leakage Growth Leakage grows with time. whereas the latter should eradicate it for a substantial period of time if done well. Similar care must be taken during mains flushing. and time to repair are the major components. Time before discovery. impact on leakage rates from those mains. and increasing leakage is indicative of deteriorating structural condition. and will be discussed in more detail in a subsequent section. Figure 1. Valve closures and mains re-charging work should therefore be carried out in a steady. rapid re-charging of a system following leakage repair work can cause further damage and leakage. the bigger the hole will get.

In other words the effect of hunting down. is a complex issue. In an area which relied upon pumped supplies with high electricity costs. is very much a long-term strategy. leakage will increase steadily with time if nothing is done to correct it. Characteristic Growth Rate For any given area in the distribution system there will be a characteristic growth rate. For instance a modern housing estate could have a serious problem with 10% leakage whilst an old area with a stubborn leakage of 30% say. Reduction in Leakage with Active Control To reduce the natural level of leakage at any pressure. These are to adopt either a PASSIVE or an ACTIVE policy. These remarks need to be heavily qualified however. limited. and was termed “acceptable leakage”. In selecting the required leakage reduction approach. Typically a leakage percentage of below 10 or even 15% may not be economic to pursue. such as how quickly leakage appears on the surface and is reported. This characteristic growth rate will be affected by changes in the physical elements of the system. Figure 1. Reduction in pressure is also effective in reducing both the volume of leakage and its rate of growth. for the system as whole. identifying and repairing the leakage costs more than the value of the water saved. Given that no two water distribution systems are identical in terms of physical or economic characteristics. its scarcity and marginal cost per megalitre are vital factors. However. and the possible water quantity lost through them. given that adequate supplies to customers must be maintained. Over a large enough area. it is not possible to determine the most appropriate leakage control policy in a general manner. improvement of mains and services is expensive and clearly. of course. a programme of leakage detection must be planned. as any slackening of effort will lead to an increase in leakage over a period of time. intensive leakage control activity would be essential. In addition to the volume of water lost. a quantity equivalent to 55 l/prop/day was deemed too expensive to find and repair. In an area of rising demand. The actual leakage level reached will depend on how quickly low pressure and flow will be experienced. and changes in pressure. renewal of service pipes. the quantity of leakage which was undetectable was approximately 30 1/prop/day. The scope for pressure reduction is. and have priority over an area with plentiful supplies fed by gravity. The effects of the introduction of various levels or frequencies of leakage detection are again illustrated in Figure 4. build and commission a new source. 1. there are two policies which may be adopted. The best policy for any given system will depend on its particular characteristics.6 Leakage Control Strategies The Economic Balance The economic balance of searching for and repairing leakage. Each area will have its own intrinsic economic leakage level. It is not sufficient to put in a high level of resource for a short period. 16 . a high degree of leakage control would make sense. co-ordinated and implemented. It was further suggested that of the “acceptable leakage”. and of controlling it to an acceptable level. although there is some doubt whether the latter effect persists in the long term. such as rehabilitation of mains. needing to promote. This graph is illustrative only. historically. leakage control must be associated with a programme of mains renewal in order to maintain the supply/demand balance.4 illustrates the growth of leakage with time.5 suggests the relative percentages of leaks caused by different types of bursts.Figure 1. and other factors. This shows clearly the need to maintain a consistent level of effort if the required leakage level is to be maintained. In the UK. Sooner or later. may require a mains renewal scheme.

Work is planned (rather than acting in response to emergency). and hence fewer district meters. The following benefits should be achieved: It minimises leakage. resources are not available to proceed with location of the leakage. It is however. It is applicable if: The cost of water production is high. 17 . Bursts are ‘invisible’ due to the strata. and may be carried out with full instrumentation to allow rapid location of leaks. Customer perception is improved. a perfectly feasible policy to adopt. Limited water resources are conserved for legitimate use.g. Bursts are readily visible and easily repaired. although this will give rise to modest maintenance costs. This could result in larger meter areas. reservoirs and mains are reduced. when further action is worthwhile. Dangerous leakage is minimised (e. and the day-to-day operating costs of leakage detection teams. leakage detection teams being carefully directed to ensure that leakage is maintained within defined criteria (such criteria being prepared using an acceptable cost/benefit basis). If unexpectedly high flows of water are observed. Such a policy is only applicable if: The revenue costs of leakage detection are high. but increases the risk of water being wasted. The costs of production are low. An active policy requires expenditure on meter installations. providing it is ‘politically’ acceptable. The quantity of water being put into supply is increasing at an unacceptable rate. It reduces operating costs (savings on electrical power and chemical treatment costs). The sources of water have limited capacity and cannot meet normal and/or foreseen demand. ‘Active’ Control It is increasingly accepted that an active approach of searching for leakage is preferential in cost/benefit terms to a passive approach of only reacting when the situation has deteriorated. it is worth noting that active leakage detection in the future is likely to increasingly employ acoustic loggers. It results in an overall reduction of water demand. is avoided. The adoption of this policy minimises the day to day operating costs of leakage detection. This relates not only to the Water Supplier’s distribution system but also to private pipework where customers are encouraged to carry out repairs on any leakage detected. It is obvious that monitoring which does not initiate further action is unproductive. etc. Capital expenditure requirements on treatment works. since leaks can remain undetected for many years until they reach such a magnitude that urgent action has to be taken due to customer complaints. It results in an ever increasing upward trend in the annual supply of water. freezing water on highway). A well managed active leakage detection policy ensures that the cost of the leakage detection teams and the repayments of the capital necessary to establish the system is exceeded by the value of the water saved. It will also be unproductive if. Because of their potential. some permanently installed. these are immediately investigated. and rationing etc. Active control would usually involve the monitoring of flows in a distribution network by using a system of permanently installed distribution meters. and there is ample capacity to supply all foreseen demands. and hence reduces the loss of water in monetary terms.‘Passive’ Control This is a procedure whereby water loss is only tackled when leakage is visible or when problems are reported from the public.

To achieve this it is necessary to establish and keep an audit trail of data. Regard has to be given however. Good leakage control depends upon good and progressively improving data. Occasional short bursts of effort are unlikely to produce lasting results because distribution systems continue to deteriorate for one reason or another. In the very process of this setting up work. efficiency and success. Personnel motivation. It introduces new valves to give better operational control. and for problem solving. and lower repair and maintenance costs. Everyone should be included. Cost/benefit analysis is important in this regard. Distribution personnel can either be organised as a specialist team. Support can be obtained from specialist agencies/contractors. This is vital for understanding. building from individual DMAs and their component data up to the regional total figures for the Water Supplier. locating mains and buried fittings. The establishment of controllable. production of drawings.e.Strategy Development Leakage reduction and control is a long-term activity. and to meet agreed monitoring/detection frequencies. It locates illegal connections and identifies malfunctioning meters and public supplies. compilation of base data for DMAs. Clerical support is required for computer input and administrative duties such as serving notices relating to private pipe repairs. leakage levels will still increase. It enforces good housekeeping. Local knowledge is essential together with an understanding of the day-to-day operation of the distribution system and demand patterns. Such development needs to be flexible. It forces plans to be updated. and spend only part of their time on leakage control. with occasional reviews to ensure that the strategy adopted is the most appropriate one for the situation. However. Skilled and knowledgeable technical support is crucial if the mass of data now regularly available is to be handled and analysed to the best advantage for the leakage reduction effort. 18 . specialist personnel using appropriate ‘state of the art’ equipment and techniques. Training and Data Use Leakage reduction requires a dedicated core of highly trained. computer systems support. has been found to be extremely helpful for effective leakage control and supply management. overall performance monitoring. manageable areas (District Meter Areas . or be integrated into general distribution system operational duties. These can be collected in the two data streams of: Aggregated night-lines/’bottom up’ calculation Total integrated flow/’top down’ calculation. The organisation of leakage control personnel can vary widely. system records updating. production of reports. Technical support is required for design and modification of district metering. good communication and synchronization of activities. it is necessary to set up specialist teams.DMA’s) within a distribution system whose demands are easily monitored. The development of a long term leakage control strategy is therefore essential if water supply and distribution systems are to be effectively managed. to the minimisation of dead-ends and their associated quality problems. and continuous feedback of decisions/results cannot be over-emphasized. If only the obvious leaks are repaired. given precise briefs and targets. general operational duties cannot and should not be entirely divorced from leakage control. A planned approach should result in lower complaint costs. ‘Active’ leakage control (i. from planners to repair teams. It is generally accepted that to properly pursue active leakage control. leakages and wastages are found and repaired. finding and repairing leaks before their presence becomes obvious or generates problems) has been found to be a cost-effective method of reducing water supply deficiencies. and should be regarded as a part of good distribution management. as will consumer problems.

Locate and repair obvious leakage. reliable leakage information system to underpin leakage control activities. 2. the police. Sub-divide the distribution system into DMA’s and continuously monitor them for leakage control. 8. 3. Traditionally this has been achieved by the study of total demand relative to population and industry. 1. These principles remain sound. Action Plan Overview The following ten points comprise key actions within a leakage policy where sustained effort is applied: 1. All these parties are thus offering a valuable service which should be respected and acted upon. and it is sometimes mistakenly believed that leakage is a symptom of mismanagement rather than a legacy of old.. by examining bulk meter flow records. the converse is true – neglected leakage will discourage further reports. Build consistently improving data. 9. Effect PROMPT repair of reported and detected leakage. Drive down leakage towards a target value and then review target. Leakage effort needs to be directed towards the areas of greatest need i. corroded mains and pipework. 7. and direction towards areas of priority leakage.e. Reduce leakage to an economic (or ‘politically’ acceptable) minimum. Provide a sound. Direct leakage control efforts to areas with priority of need. but the advent of the computer and data logger have provided the means for automatic information processing. Local contact between distribution staff and the groups who might report leakage is well worthwhile and promotes the importance and benefits of a timely response. Relay mains and service pipes in modern non-corrodible materials (welded polyethylene preferred). Prompt attention to leakage queries can correct this misapprehension. 4. 6. Maintain DMA meters. and the equipment used within them. Customer queries relative to leakage particularly require a rapid response. Reduce pressures where possible. This response will then encourage further reports and hence rectify more leakage in turn. loggers and boundary valves. On the other hand. and by interpreting recording charts on individual waste meters. (Apart from physical constraints. the size of these areas may be determined by the leakage detection and location policy. To achieve this effectively a good information system and audit trail is essential. 10. other utilities and public bodies.It is easy to dissipate effort and resources on leakage control unless the work is properly planned. 19 . Leakage often has a high profile with the public and the media. 5.7 Customer Reported Leakage Reported leakage comes from the public.) Employ “Active” leakage detection policies using modern methods and equipment. where most water is leaking and where water costs are highest.

Customer expectations will continue to rise. and trunk mains monitoring for leakage. Assistance will be sought from further technological development. seeking to locate and repair leaks before they become visible Assistance given to customers in reducing leakage from their own pipework Better understanding of the water balance components and associated issues. Some of the contributing factors have been: • • • • • • • • The attention given to the creation of new and smaller DMAs Continuous. appropriate values for water saved. It is unlikely that leakage will ever again become a background issue in the UK. Lower leakage levels will be expected to be achieved. Economic analysis will be a continued emphasis because cash flow will continue to be tight. and further operating cost reductions will be expected. and environmental and social costs. cost and result is still not fully understood. as will the encouragement for them to save water. Climate change and environmental considerations will continue to be a driving force. There will be more focus on ‘grey’ water re-use in order to meet rising demand without jeopardising the ability to meet demand in the future. more reliable quantification of seasonal variations in night flows. the Industry will be looking for more efficient and effective methods to identify. with particular emphasis on the use of real cost/benefit data in models. as the supply/demand balance comes under further scrutiny. with more attention given to the dilemma of reconditioning or renewing mains. possibly with telemetry. The Industry has responded well to the targets it has been set. much of the expenditure of leakage detection is avoided and. Asset life extension will remain an issue. Though the relationship between effort. particularly permanently installed acoustic loggers. with the balance being detected). As such. 1. night-flow monitoring The improved management of pressures The improvements in detection technology and techniques Greater investment in renewing the pipe network Greater active leakage control. it behoves the Water Supplier to respond quickly to reported instances on the grounds of economy. Attention will further turn to issues concerning service pipe leakage. apart from the public relations benefits. Data quality will be expected to improve. Ways will be sought to introduce ‘competition’. 20 .Reported leakage may comprise a significant proportion of all leakage discovered (i. better assessment of legitimate night use and the effects of social changes.e.8 Future Considerations The end of the 1990s has seen a very significant reduction of leakage in the UK. locate and repair leaks more quickly.

is a figure derived from one definition of resident population. If A is not adjusted (as is quite common). population served. 21 . For the same reason. This is particularly true at cattle troughs or in factories with substantial periods of low demand. (there are several). the per capita consumption was usually based on studies of existing domestic meters. conventional domestic meters record nothing until the flow exceeds 5 l/hour and under record any flow between 5 and 22 l/hour. and it implies that leakage is expected to increase in quantity as development takes place.Appendix to Section 1 Water Balance Method of Computing Leakage Total Integrated Flow Formula: U = S . readings were only 80% of true flow with some recording only 60%. Large variations in unaccounted for water from year to year would indicate a certain inaccuracy associated with the use of this formula. it will increase as a percentage of the volume supplied. with deductions for consumers not supplied or supplied through a meter. Pilot studies of bulk meters in one supply area indicated that on average. whilst the deductions are usually un-audited estimates. The formula is also subject to other inaccuracies. this measure is prone to less significant errors than the total integrated flow formula. whilst A x p was over-estimated by 10%. Theoretically. The provision of accurate means of measuring night flows within the distribution system is fundamental to this approach. P. in a very warm spell. In properties where most water is routed through a ball valve to a roof tank. the meters of measured consumers will under record at low flows whatever the meter size. M and S will go down and even though U remains the same quantity. but it is unrelated to pressure however. Similarly. then leakage could be a third more than estimated. in an industrial recession. The expression of U as a percentage of total consumption is rightly criticised as being misleading and unsuitable for comparisons.(M + A x P) where U S M A P = = = = = Unaccounted for water Total volume supplied Metered use Per capita use Population supplied unmetered Each of the above terms is subject to error. If it were assumed that the meters associated with the terms S and M above were under-recording by only 5%. Population served varies through the year. S will increase because A and M increase. It has been argued that an error of such magnitude is quite feasible. It is now known that small. and therefore comparisons between areas need to bear in mind their relative average night pressures. A. For instance. substantial under recording will occur. U appears to increase both in quantity and as a percentage. The measure of ‘net night flow per separately charged property’ as a means of assessing leakage is now commonly preferred.


2 Histogram to show Assessment of the Volume of Leakage Components TOTAL VOLUME OF WATER SUPPLIED Treatment losses Losses due to fire fighting flushing etc.Figure 1. Leakage on trunk mains & service reservoirs TOTAL LEAKAGE MAINS LEAKAGE APPROX 1 / 2 DISTRIBUTION MAINS LEAKAGE COMMUNICATION PIPE LEAKAGE Leakage on internal private pipework PRIVATE SUPPLY PIPE LEAKAGE Total Volume Supplied Total Unaccounted for Total Leakage Total Leakage 23 .

Figure 1.5 inch diameter lead pipe.5 inch diameter lead pipes under a pressure of 31.4 Graph to show growth of leakage with time ‘Eruptive’ Bursts Passive leakage Complaints Level Average leakage rate (will vary between extremes dependent on detection and repair frequency) LEAKAGE Detection and repair Intrinsic leakage level (effectively the minimum for a given area without further rehabilitation or pressure reduction) Time 24 . The well-known old diagram from Liverpool Corporation tests which shows how leakage increases sharply with a small increase in hole size.6m head. Experiments were carried out by Liverpool Corporation to determine the rate of loss through various sized holes in 0.3 Discharge in Litres/day Effect of Hole Size on Leakage 49 090 20 945 17 454 2 945 1636 Discharges through circular holes in 0. Figure 1. The results are shown in this diagram.

5 Likely Proportion of Bursts/Leakage within an Ageing System Large bursts immediately obvious Bursts which gradually become obvious Small bursts-only found by detection Very small burstsimpossible or uneconomic to find and repair AVG FLOW RATE a b c d % OF ALL LEAKS TOTAL QUANTITY LOST PER BURST a b c d % OF ALL LEAKS 25 .Figure 1.

26 .

2. It is neither efficient.2.) Total energy (TE) is expressed in metres relative to a given datum.unit metres 2g (These factors derive from basic hydraulic theory. 2. Given an accurate knowledge of the pipe network.2 2.unit metres V2 is known as velocity head .e.9810 N N / m3 9810 / m_) z Any reference datum Then: Total energy = potential energy + pressure energy + velocity energy TE where = 2 p Z + w + V 2g p w is known as pressure head .2. relating as it does to the internal size and condition of a pipe.1 Energy Principles Water flowing in a pipeline possesses energy in three forms: Potential energy due to elevation Velocity energy due to velocity Pressure energy due to pressure 2. or necessary. This particularly applies to the interpretation of flow and pressure data. 27 .1 HYDRAULICS AND NETWORK ANALYSIS FOR LEAKAGE DETECTION Introduction An understanding of basic hydraulics is essential if distribution data is to be assessed correctly. a basic grasp of the principles of hydraulic gradients in particular is very valuable. as well as to legitimate demands and leakage.2.e.2 Consider a position along a pipeline: pressure -pN/m2 Specific weight of Specific weight of water w N N / water== w / m_ m3 (i. to depend on network analysis to resolve every uncertainty presented by recorded data. (i.

(2) P1 V1 Z1 then: Z1 + P1 + V12 = Z2 + P2 + V22 w 2g w 2g This is Bernoulli’s Equation.caused by transient pressure waves Consider a length of pipe: Provided that a) the fluid is incompressible (as water is assumed to be) b) there are no energy losses (1) .pressure created during no-flow conditions . three different regimes of pressure can be identified as acting on a pipeline: • • • 2. It can be expressed graphically as:TEL HGL V1 /2g 2 P2 V2 Z2 HGL V 2 /2g 2 P1 w CENTRE LINE OF PIPE P2 w Z2 Datum Z1 28 .2.pressure dependent on the flow varying from static pressure at no-flow to zero at ‘maximum’ flow .3 Static pressure Working pressure Surge pressure .It can be expressed graphically on a longitudinal section at a point: Total Energy V 2g P W 2 Z Datum Therefore.

Changes in flow Restrictions in pipeline Friction losses Bursts Internal condition of pipe Pressure Reducing Valves For every part of the distribution system. this may be near enough true.3 2. f. change it and they both change. Although for very short smooth pipes.e. Z1 + P1 + V12 = Z2 + P2 + V22 + w 2g w 2g . 2. i. roughness and pipe fittings.2 Consider the pipe reservoir and pipeline described in Figure 2.1.3. The difference in level between the bottom water 29 .3 Losses in entry to pipe. A number of factors are responsible for the loss of head in the pipeline: a. d.1 Head Loss in Pipelines Bernoulli’s Equation in the form: Z1 + P1 + V12 = Z2 + P2 + V22 w 2g w 2g assumes no loss of energy.3. 2. g. in general we need to modify the formula to take losses into account. TEL and HGL are unique to a particular flow in the pipe.Where TEL is the Total Energy Line HGL is the Hydraulic Gradient NB. what will be the resulting pressure at properties ‘A’ and ‘B’? The actual pressure will be the STATIC PRESSURE less the HEAD LOSS at each property. b. c. there will be a level below which the pressure must not be permitted to drop if an adequate and efficient water supply is to be provided. At times of maximum flow on the pipeline.3. 2.in graphical form: Losses V1 2/2g TEL Losses HGL V22/2g P1 w CENTRE LINE OF PIPE P2 w Z1 Datum Z2 The effect is to tilt the TEL in the direction of the flow (and the same with the HGL) by an amount depending on flow. The minimum pressure must be considered when the system is designed or extended. e.

water would rise to the height of the hydraulic gradient. is in theory 10 metres for water. which depends in part upon the velocity in the pipe and its diameter. applicable only to clean water. Figure 2. 2. The friction factor depends upon the roughness of the pipe and also the Reynolds Number. there will be an increase in the friction losses and the hydraulic gradient line will steepen. force the fluid up it to a height of ‘h’ metres (which equals P ). They are. See Figure 2. Where it runs below. 30 . and not on theory. the flow may be turbulent. in general. leaks and air valves. The hydraulic gradient can indicate points within a pipeline system where pressure reduction or system boosting will be required. The friction head loss ‘H’ between two points can be calculated using the Hazen-Williams equation or similar types of formula. 2. 2. if there was such a tube connected. Water Mains can run above the HGL providing this height does not exceed about 7 metres. In pipes used for water distribution. and minimum pressure point.4. The maximum suction lift of a pump.3 gives an example of this theory. pressures are positive.2. Therefore the pressure in the main would. or the greatest syphonic head.5 Pipe Flow Formulae These flow formula are based on observation and experiment.4 2.4. Suction pressures may draw in contamination through hydrants. but: i) ii) iii) iv) Properties above the HGL at a particular flow cannot be supplied. slime free at normal temperatures. suction pressures). Suction pressures may disrupt poorly made joints.level in the service reservoir. 2.2 The Hydraulic Gradient of a pipeline is the gradient of a line joining the fluid levels measured at vertical intervals along the pipe At a particular constant flow ‘Q’. Therefore the practice is to be avoided.e. Connections above HGL lead to back syphonage and contamination risks. must at no time be exceeded by the loss of head in the mains from the reservoir due to friction and other causes. W i. pressures are negative (i. In practice it is about 7 metres.4. it is the line showing the pressure in the pipeline between two points.3 Where the HGL runs above the pipe.1 The Hydraulic Gradient The pressure head in a pipeline at a point = P W Where P W = = pressure N/m2 specific weight of fluid This expression is the same as that for the pressure at the bottom of a column of fluid ‘h’ metres high.e. If the flow ‘Q’ increases.

5645 (L) 31 .2 Lamont Formula For hydraulically smooth pipes for both mains and services.9 x L x l09 D4.6935 (H) 0.85 where R = 11. It is intended for use with new pipes carrying clean slime-free water at normal temperatures (55ºF).85 H L Q C D V = Head loss in ft. but there are others. V = 95. and is easy to use.1 Hazen-Williams This formula is often used in the design of water distribution systems.63 (H)0. including Colebrook-White. Metric Units H = RQ1.623 x L D4. = Constant (expression of roughness) = Diameter in ins.54 (4) (L) This can be arranged to: H = RQ1. Various pipe flow formulae are available to determine head losses in relation to velocity in pipes. has fairly reliable values for co-efficients. = Length in ft.5.Therefore a pipe flow formula should have a roughness coefficient which varies with velocity and pipe size. = Velocity ft/s. 2.85 H L Q D C V = Head loss in metres = Length in metres = Flow in litres/sec. Imperial Units V = 1.318C (D)0. = Diameter in mm = Constant Maximum Average Minimum = Velocity in m/sec 150 100 60 2.85 where R = 14. = Flow in galls/min. Lamont’s smooth pipe formula has been developed. Two are described below.5d0.5. which is sometimes used for network analysis modelling.87 x C1. It is based on well-documented records of experiments on the pipes ordinarily used in distribution practice.87 x C1.

In a snapshot analysis.V D H L = Average velocity of flow ft/sec = Diameter in ft = Head loss in ft = Length in ft 2. a Pipe-Friction Diagram is also available for solutions using Lamont’s smooth-pipe formula. It is essential to know the system of 32 . the flows and head losses are considered at only a single given set of demand conditions. with careful selection of the value of the constant C. For rapid solution of the formula. With the development in recent years of computer hardware and software. The demands and demand patterns on a network are also vital ingredients.In each dynamic analysis the flows and head losses are considered for a series of varying demand conditions. booster pumps and service reservoirs forming the water distribution system.7. 2. With the increasing use of hydraulically smooth pipes for distribution and trunk mains. The power and speed of computing for network analysis continues to improve.7. it was normal to simplify the system by considering only the key mains. 2. the model gives the same flows and pressures as the real system. It will have been calibrated by the model builders to ensure that. Unaccounted for water including leakage.allowing one to access hydraulic data as well as the position of the mains in the ground. within reason. A network is the collection of pipes. slime-free water at normal temperatures. This is done by comparing the results from the model with huge amounts of data from field tests. This is frequently expressed as a single time interval. from available tables. valves.1 Network Analysis Introduction Network analysis is the term used to describe the ‘analysis of water flows and head losses in a pressurised distribution system under a given set of demand conditions on the system’. it is now possible to include all reservoirs and mains in a distribution system.7 2. 2.2 Type of Analysis This is the process of calculating the flows and head losses in a network for a given set of demand conditions.7.6 Pipe Friction Diagrams The Hazen-Williams formula may be applied to all types of pipe. and all the various control features. The chart is for use with new pipes carrying clean. and are made up of a number of components: a) b) c) Domestic demand Metered industrial/commercial demand. A model represents everything we know about a particular distribution system. Two types of analysis are normally used: Snapshot . with their operating constraints and regimes. This is frequently a 24 hour time period. a Pipe-Friction Diagram is also available. Dynamic or Extended Time . Due to the complexity of most distribution systems.3 Model Construction A network model is basically an intelligent mains record drawing . and is the sort of analysis that is now most commonly used.

5 Model Application Network analysis is a powerful tool for the effective management of distribution systems. Network models can already tell us how old the water is throughout a system and how that changes during the day.4 Network Balance If there is a disagreement between the computed flows and the measured flows. Network models may be useful in locating large leaks by comparing modelled pressures against actual. It could also ensure that levels of service are achieved at customer taps by identifying areas of inadequate or excessive pressures. it allows any user to experiment with system changes before they are tried out on the ground. or to alter distribution areas. perhaps miles away. Large leaks cause a lowering of pressures. and in pumped distribution systems. Network models give us a better picture of the system operation. 33 . To do this. These could be such things as checking what reinforcements are needed to supply a new development.i. a number of factors can be involved. A lot of money can be saved on capital schemes by using models to find out what size mains are really needed. All these might point to problem areas and show the results on water quality of system changes. It can also be used to design pressure reduction. with effects over wide areas. but not all of them. the model builder converts the demands on the model to average demands by comparing the demands for that area with the test day 2. or to sometimes find ways of not laying new mains at all. They can also be used to tell us how different source waters blend in the system at different times of the day. Once a model exists.7. 2. so that levels of service are not affected somewhere else. As the techniques improve it will also be used to investigate water quality problems. and help improve levels of service. The more common are listed below: • • • • • • • • Incorrect estimates for model demands Incorrect assumptions for hydraulic resistances Wrong pipe lengths or diameters Unsuspected network cross-connection Closed valves/opened valves By-passes around PRV or meters Restrictions in mains Pressure measurement on ‘rider’ main. Once the model is created it has to be converted to what is known as an Average Day Model. Network models are not perfect. The model could help maximise the utilisation of low cost supplies. In the past we often had to guess about the behaviour of complex systems. The process of model building can thus uncover many problems which may go unnoticed until a burst occurs. perhaps to see how long the reservoir storage will last. It might be used for planning a trunk main shut-off.7. corrective measures could then be simulated. but they are the only tool available to provide such detailed hydraulic information. and areas of high leakage.configuration on the calibration day . minimise the cost of pumping. often wasting time and money. It can be used to check on rehabilitation problems – re-line.e the day chosen as the most ‘typical’ from the field test. renew or up-size. To calibrate a model it is necessary to get the pressures right within one metre at virtually all points in the system at all times of day. The calibration process will find any significant problems with the model’s representation of the distribution system.

Figure 2.1 Service Reservoir and Pipeline TWL 4m BWL 70m 30m C 20m B A 1000m 1. What will be the maximum pressure at property ‘A’ at BWL at average flow? 2. What will be the maximum pressure at property ‘C’ at TWL at average flow? 500m 250m 34 .

.O.2 Hydraulic Gradient of a pipeline PIPELINE HAS DIA d metres FRICTION COEFF .D ORDNANCE DATUM Longitudinal Section of Pipeline The Hydraulic Gradient is obtained by plotting the sum of the Static Head and the Pressure Head.Figure 2. 35 The Hydraulic Gradient shows the level to which the liquid in the pipe would rise if a vertical stand pipe was inserted in the pipeline at the point under construction. C LENGTH OF PIPELINE = L B FRICTION HEAD LOSS H THRO’ PIPELINE BETWEEN FLOW Q THRO’ PIPELINE A A B (Can be calculated from Hazen-Williams equation) GROUND LEVEL WATER PRESSURE AT THIS POINT IN PIPELINE FLOW Q INVERT LEVEL OF PIPELINE LEVEL OF PIPELINE A.

2. Mains at point C will need boosting.D NOTES 1.3 Hydraulic Gradient RESERVOIR P HYD RA ULI CG R ADI ENT Pmax GROUND LEVEL P P B C A DATUM POINT . 3. fittings etc.A.O. Reduce pressure in the valley bottom (point A) to reduce leakage. 4. 36 Distribution pressures will be less than Pmax (at lowest ground level) due to frictional losses in mains. Pressure at point B must satisfy Level of Service criteria.Figure 2. .

The techniques of active leakage monitoring require the installation of flow meters at strategic points throughout the distribution system. and they have similar topography with limited head loss within their area. composition and arrangement of the distribution system is dictated as much by the local history. will be excessive in some areas. This planned approach inevitably leads to better understanding and control of the distribution system. measured inputs and outputs. each meter recording flows into a discrete district which has a defined and permanent boundary. and closer control of labour. District Meter Areas are the basic building blocks of a zoned distribution system.1 District Meter Areas Establishment and Design Distribution management is an important activity which has considerable impact on customers. The shape. which can often result in additional complaints. are larger. DISTRICT METER AREA MANAGEMENT 3. controlling leakage. The development of DMAs as part of a structured operation of the distribution system allows the network to be operated in a planned way. Such an approach helps to ensure that distribution managers can meet the primary objectives to the maximum benefit of the customer and the Water Supplier.3. fewer consumer complaints. <500-1000 properties. or zones. Their fundamental characteristic is that their boundaries are closed except for defined. taste and odour. and costs will escalate. maintaining security of supplies and maximising the return on investment in the assets. In addition there is a need to respond to and solve customer complaints of poor or no supply. 5000-10000 properties. public relations and aesthetic needs.2. Distribution management is required to meet these standards while minimising pumping costs. In short. The alternative approach is one in which the distribution system is separated into manageable units. DMAs in the UK are generally between 1000 and 5000 properties in size. It is therefore vital that management decisions are taken in a framework of knowledge and understanding of how the system operates. The costs of distribution operations are high. updated and more comprehensive records. discolouration. In general. although some districts designed around old ‘waste zones’ are smaller. customer standards. but this is not always achievable in practice. In practice zoning takes place at several levels. more efficient and informed management. 3. the incremental growth and integration of local supply areas leads to an ‘open’ distribution system in which it may be very difficult to meet the performance requirements. pressures will vary. These include statutory requirements. designed around reservoir zones or bulk meter areas. topography and Town and Country Planning as by good hydraulic design. water will mix in an unpredictable fashion. They provide a manageable unit by which the distribution customer and performance information can be linked to other activities and data systems. This ensures that pressures throughout the DMA are 37 . In open systems. each of which has definable characteristics which can be monitored and maintained.1 Distribution Network Structure A wide range of performance standards and regulations apply to the operation of a distribution network. Customers may receive water of variable quality and taste. Typical district size currently in the UK varies between 1000 and 5000 properties. Ideally this should be a single metered input. All these requirements need a geographic reference framework of a manageable size. Others. If uncontrolled. water quality standards. the size of zone should depend on the monitoring requirement and the follow-up leak detection technique being employed.2 3. noise and so on.

The installation of flushing. such as buried. that no unnecessarily long water retention periods are created and that water quality variations are within an acceptable range . or closed valves. points. ii. to define the boundaries of each DMA. This information is used. preferably at a scale of 1:2500. Unforeseen difficulties may be found. It will be necessary to ensure that all stop (stand shut. The simple checklist below can be used to ensure that all of these activities are performed before a DMA is commissioned. The installation of flow meters at all inlets and outlets. System record plans are required. This will require: i. to avoid districts with high outflows (this leads to inaccuracy in calculation of district demand as any changes in demand will be a small proportion of the total flow measured). Once satisfactorily piloted. records and related information systems. DMAs often have to be checked very carefully during establishment. iv. These problems are often discovered when the DMA is first modelled and anomalies in the model are investigated. iii. In practice. thereby reducing the number of meters used and the number of closed valves (which can lead to water quality problems). canals and major roads). it will normally be necessary to trial the area in practice. Nevertheless. ii) Having defined the limits of a DMA.even. The principles of DMA design and structure are very simple. together with property count data. and allows pressure and leakage to be managed most effectively. Larger areas are possible from a detection point of view if acoustic logging is part of the detection policy employed. where possible.. boundary) valves perform correctly.larger areas usually means less ‘dead ends’. and that satisfactory flows and pressures are maintained throughout the DMA. The closing and marking of all boundary valves. the DMA can be fully established. or even unknown pipes. Other important considerations in this process are as: i) to cross the fewest number of distribution mains (helped by using natural boundaries such as railway lines. District Meter Area Design 1000-5000 properties Minimum number of boundary valves Preferably single inlet meter Avoid export meters if possible Beware of low pressure (on peak demand) Beware of quality problems at stop-ends Avoid l50 mm mechanical (Helix) meters (1 rev = 1000 litres) Typically downsize mechanical meters (not necessary for electromagnetic) Install mechanical meters on a bypass Fit ‘out-reader’ chamber for logger if meter access problems 38 . together with the local system operator’s knowledge. The updating of plans. the design should be checked using Network Analysis to ensure that pressures are sustained at all likely demands. or ‘OXO’.

flow reversals and retention times can be minimised and more consistent pressures established. all at a lower. The monitoring and maintenance of water quality The planning and programming of repair and maintenance work. For leakage control purposes. otherwise the cost and effort of establishment and monitoring will be wasted. 2. 5. cost) of a well defined area of the distribution system can be closely monitored. preferably with the input of the information into a computer analysis programme. 4. should be repaired promptly DMA meters should not be valved out DMA meters and loggers should be operating normally PRV areas should be properly isolated and operating Poor quality mains should be fed forward into the capital programme as candidates for renewal Plans should be up to date and show new property. A regular regime of meter readings. Specifically DMA’s impact on: 1. and the demand of major industrial users within each DMA. This allows the Water Supplier to focus attention on those activities which produce most benefits to customers – a pro-active rather than a reactive approach. whether visible or not showing. Careful inspection of the meter and logger readings can quickly spot any unusual results.3 Benefits of DMAs The principal benefit of DMAs is that the key characteristics (e. and pressure monitoring must therefore be established for each DMA. better and more consistent service to customers. quality. 39 .3. long-term cost to the Water Supplier. Asset maintenance and renewal. For two adjacent DMAs. Leakage within the DMA. the opening of a single boundary stop valve is sufficient to destroy the accuracy of DMA demand monitoring. The results of this monitoring allow management action to be prioritised and targeted on where it is most cost effective.2 Operation and Maintenance Once established. For example. Simple management procedures must be introduced to ensure that the integrity of the DMA is maintained. Together with a zoned approach to distribution management. DMAs need to be maintained.2. 3.2. Leakage control Pressure management and levels of service. 3.g. reading of DMA meters and loggers. boundary valve checks. Perhaps the most important benefit of DMAs is a little less tangible. improved demand management. This requires regular. rehabilitation or other operational necessity High pressure DMAs should be examined for pressure reduction Logger readings of low pressure should be investigated to determine whether leakage is indicated. it is necessary to establish the number of domestic properties. This results in a better knowledge of the system. they provide a better knowledge of how the system works and how water gets to the customers in an appropriate condition. The following details are worth noting for effective management: • • • • • • • • • • • • All boundary valves should be kept tight closed and a regular checking programme should be followed All boundary valves should be clearly marked and identified Valves within the DMA should be fully open Status quo should be re-established after bursts. demand. This can be used to trigger leak detection follow-up work. usually weekly.

It is vital that valves are checked and meters read regularly. particularly in areas with unlined mains. loss of supply etc. but new and replacement valves may be needed. The costs of establishment can be considerable. DMAs. Certainly the number of deadends can increase considerably when DMAs are introduced. For example: i) C u s t o m e r Service Customer calls which require a visit or follow-up job can be logged by the DMA in which the customer lives. and recorded with address and problem information. Not only are meters and data loggers required. Open systems automatically compensate (up to a point) for changes in demand patterns. a burst main) may help understand and explain the customer’s problem. can be identified and programmed on a DMA basis. A substantial commitment is required from management and workforce.3. Remedial work. whether operational or capital. when the leakage work is completed. A link to a quality information system would ensure that statutory sampling and reporting requirements can be met.3 Waste Meter Areas For the purpose of leakage monitoring and investigation.4 Links to Other Data Information Systems DMAs are the common link between distribution and other activities. These may. as these are only temporary. Some of this may be considered to be operational ‘good housekeeping’. in general. but their boundaries are not permanent.2. Historic DMA characteristics or activities (e.g. Sampling and reporting programmes can be built up using DMA information and characteristics. ii) Levels of Service Levels of service registers can be compiled by DMA. fresh tracing and mapping of the system may be necessary. do have some disadvantages which must be considered and minimised: • Less robust under failure conditions. some DMAs are occasionally subdivided into waste meter areas (WMAs) by closing defined valves and measuring flows using portable or fixed waste meters. 3.4 Disadvantages of DMAs DMAs and zoned systems. the valves are left in the open position. peak demands. These waste meter areas are similar to small DMAs. The installation of flushing points and programmes can overcome this problem at a cost. particularly the sources from which water is normally supplied. although there is not the same constraint on boundary valve closures. Water quality may suffer because of the creation of closed systems. In some cases. iii) Wa t e r Q u a l i t y Water quality zones are aggregates of DMAs. • • • 3. Work scheduling and planning procedures allow appointments and repairs to be programmed by DMA to improve efficiency. accumulate debris resulting in discolouration or even blockages. A better long-term solution is to improve treatment works and mains to improve water quality. on the other hand need to be managed to allow for mains improvement. 40 . The design of the areas is similar in principle to that of DMAs. which has to be accepted and budgeted for. otherwise the information obtained is misleading or useless. and that managers are aware of quality variations and problems. This too has a cost.

It is preferable to data log the meter flows during commissioning to confirm the range of design flows.3. A typical demand pattern is shown in Figure 3. 41 . Once it has been established that the area is functioning satisfactorily. the boundary valves should be recorded on the system record drawings. 3.5 3.1. and any increase in complaints should be noted.5. and to aid the solving of any problems which are subsequently encountered. together with the meter flows. Pressures at critical points should be monitored.5. it may take considerable time to achieve a complete leakage survey of each area. on fitting the meter the area can be commissioned by closing the boundary valves. Depending on the resources and technology available.1 Commissioning General For both waste and district meter areas. and all leaks quickly repaired. Measurement of the minimum night flow should then take place to establish the ‘norm’ for the area. against which subsequent readings can be judged.2 Establishment of ‘Norms’ As soon as possible after commissioning the area should be surveyed throughout for leakage. and clearly marked on site. In the interim period it will be necessary to calculate the ‘norm’ based on the number of properties and an appropriate allowance per property.

1 Demand Patterns in a Typical Area Peak Demand Legitim ate Water Usage Night Line Leakage flows Continuously 6 a. 42 .m. Midnight 6 a.m.m.Figure 3. Noon 6 p.

or for collecting together data for parts of this system with similar characteristics such as unit cost. there will be several district meter areas (DMAs) ranging in size typically from 1000 to 5000 properties.1 District Metering Original Concept The original concept of district metering was to measure the total volume entering the DMA between the reading intervals. not generally reflected across the system. urban/rural character. a second cycle of readings would be taken to confirm the result before further action was taken.4. This would then be compared to previous readings. In the UK.1. especially if daily readings are collected.000 and 50. However.000 properties. including the effect of any increase or decrease in storage. age.1.2 4. the previous two levels being used for performance assessment and monitoring rather than detection. there are different levels of metering as shown in Figure 4. typically varying between 20. they could possibly identify major leakage.1 METERING FOR LEAKAGE DETECTION Hierarchy of Metered Areas In common practice.2 Zones Zone metering breaks down a large supply area into several zones. Zone metering may also be useful for comparing the performance of different leakage control teams. However.1 Supply Areas Metering of a supply area will comprise metering of all source works outputs. would signify a likely increase in leakage. Metering at this level is essential to judge overall performance as it includes all possible sources of leakage. District metering may be considered as the first level of metering which can be used for leakage detection. 4. as any leaks which are not obvious will be swamped by the normal daily variations in consumption. Zones are too large to identify small leakages. 4. and very much a matter of judgement and experience. the time taken to identify the leakage and initiate further action would be two reading intervals. except for very large consumers whose meters may have been read as district meters.1. and hence to calculate the average daily demand.3 Districts Within each zone. 4. 4. This procedure suffered from a number of disadvantages: i) it was insensitive as leakage would not be identified until it exceeded a significant proportion of the daily demand. elimination of climatic factors and holiday effects was difficult.1. 4. A significant increase in demand.2. and also to the readings for all other DMAs for that period to assess climatic effects. Again all inflows and outflows are measured continuously. as again these will be swamped by normal daily variations. this would typically mean a population range of 2500 to 12500 and a daily demand ranging from 0. it was not possible to differentiate between increases in leakage and increases in metered consumption. it is of no use for leakage detection. and all imports and exports crossing the boundaries. normally at least 10%. 43 ii) iii) iv) . Normally.7 to 3. in order to give an accurate daily figure for demand.5 Mld.

waste meters can be used to perform step tests to further locate the leakage within a still smaller area. A waste meter measures the total flow into a waste area. a single DMA may be divided into several WMAs. although care may be needed on occasions when garden sprinklers may be left on overnight. sometimes using the same meter revalved into different areas. These improvements now enable one meter to read minimum night flows and maximum daily flows with an accuracy that facilitates leakage monitoring and detection. Some Water Suppliers are beginning to move in favour of automated.2. particularly at weekends. When used on its own.4. this measurement being used to judge whether there is significant level of leakage by comparison with previous readings or WMA ‘norms’. The effect of climatic variation is significantly reduced. The equipment and economics associated with data collection are changing. These meters are becoming more competitive for ordinary use. district meters are now usually fitted with data loggers which will record. they are run only when the district meters indicate a significant level of leakage. in which case data must be collected by site visit. unless it occurred at the end of the period. Unlike the methods of metering previously mentioned. Logger manufacturers usually provide powerful software to analyse and manipulate recorded data. Where used in combination with district metering. when used with district metering. as any increase in metered use is less likely to take place at night. monitoring pressure as well as flow. In conjunction with district metering. as night flows will normally be less than 20% of the average daily flow and will suffer less variation due to demand. However. remote. 4. Waste metering is now rarely be used on its own in the UK. because they hold out the possibility of reduced installation and maintenance costs. the night flow over a specified period for a number of nights. The area covered is normally in the range 500 to 4000 properties. 4. Waste meters are used specifically to record the minimum night flow rate. in addition to the total flow.3 Waste Metering This is the fourth and final level of metering. waste metering is not run continuously. the waste meters are run at a set frequency. Differentiation between leakage and metered use is easier. Alternatively. This immediately achieves a better than five fold improvement in the sensitivity of the method in the original concept. it may not be economic for all these meters to be on telemetry.2 Data Collection Due to the large numbers of meters likely to be involved. it would be termed ‘combined metering’. If it is judged that action is required. Even greater accuracy can be achieved by using electromagnetic meters which can now be obtained at smaller sizes. This can be varied with the leakage growth characteristics of the area. 44 . and centralised interrogation of intelligent data loggers at meters. The frequency of data collection and analysis may itself be limited by the amount of resources which can be economically justified to undertake this activity.4 Recent Metering Improvements The chart below indicates the improvements in flow range that have taken place alongside the evolution of data loggers. and now more usually in the UK. The waste meter area (WMA) is specially valved in for the purposes of the test so that it is supplied solely by the waste meter. The time taken to identify leakage is reduced to one reading interval as the night flow readings will confirm the leakage.

6 4. 4. but provision for the extra head loss and cleaning maintenance is needed. the breakdown may prevent fluid passing through the faulty meter. Depending on the meter type. A site survey is necessary to check the location of the main and other physical obstructions or limitations. or on the availability of alternate supplies. However. If a mechanical flowmeter breaks down it may need to be removed from the pipeline in which it is installed.45 90 0.14 181 0.80 600 100 150 These relatively recent technological advances have reduced the distinction between district and waste metering. but otherwise a site should be chosen on the pipeline such that access is practicable under all circumstances for meter reading and for repair and maintenance. A site may already be committed where an existing district meter is installed.23 46 0.50 200 0.75 86 4.5 Meter Site Selection Having defined the boundaries.50 209 1. 4.48 640 0. Dependent upon the type chosen. Meter chambers should be fitted with vandal resistant lids.6.59 284 3. and this off-set the reduced monitoring frequency. Information on the other Utilities’ apparatus should also be obtained at this stage to avoid subsequent problems during excavation. Thus. the next step is to select the meter site. There are ways of minimising the consequences of a breakdown by proper design such as providing: 45 .21 283 0.47 140 2. bypasses may not be cost-effective. waste meters were far more sensitive at identifying leakage than district meters.23 46 0.60 250 1. The criteria should be based on the ability to maintain supplies when a particular meter is shut out. an electromagnetic flowmeter requires a mains power supply.21 64 0. DMA’s are now as sensitive as WMA’s in identifying leakage. and often the district meters themselves can be used to perform step tests.15 46 0. Location of the meter in either footpath or verge is preferable because of safety and accessibility.14 170 1.50 55 2.41 568 0.1 Meter Installation Design Mechanical Meters Mechanical DMA meters should normally be sited on a bypass main which provides the necessary upstream/downstream lengths of straight pipe to avoid flow disturbance. and hence those mains in which the flow must be measured. in DMAs supplied by several meters. Strainers are sometimes needed upstream of mechanical meters in dirty water areas to prevent meter blockage.M e t e r Size Meter Type mm 80 Minimum Maximum Minimum Maximum Minimum Maximum M i n i m u m a n d M a x i m u m F l o w R a t e s i n m 3/ h r Deacon Kent Gate Kent IM Kent 3000 Kent 4000 Electro magnetic 0. the benefits of combined metering (District Meters plus Waste Meters) can be achieved at less capital cost in real terms than was previously the case. Previously.

This may be done by the temporary installation of a ‘master meter’ in a specially provided bypass loop incorporating isolation and bleed valves. For instance. it is unnecessary to have a bypass arrangement.2 Electromagnetic Flowmeters It can be argued. with the sensor cabled back to a transmitter/display unit sited in a convenient location. with no need to gain access to the pipe. The need for re-calibration of good electromagnetic meters is a rarity. More significantly. once installed. The other extreme would be a meter reading the daily demand with no storage on the system when.6. Ease of removal of the meter from the pipe. but in most cases continue to give a readout.e. and offsets the higher costs of the meter compared to the mechanical type. or alternatively by the provision of connections for insertion meters. the demand in the early hours of the morning might be very low indeed. will run forever and will perform according to its original calibration into perpetuity. recording peak demand to the area supplemented by backflow from the reservoir. it is too often assumed that a flowmeter. 46 . in the absence of substantial leakage. Means should be provided to make the checking of flowrate at regular intervals a routine part of checking the plant efficiency. transmitter. A meter on the reservoir inflow/outflow is also required.7 4. which may be believed or disbelieved depending on the shrewdness and experience of the observer. though valves on either side are advantageous.7. and at night.1 Meter Selection Criteria General Criteria The type of meter which can be considered will depend on the type. 4. that because of the maintenance-free nature of these meters. Air bleeds to facilitate filling the meter when it has been replaced. if the district is a separate supply area with its own service reservoir or water tower storage. the incoming meter flow is likely to be continuous at a fairly uniform rate. size and configuration of the district. A bypass loop to allow flow to continue during repair. and are suitable for installation in meter pits which become flooded. Verification of the calibration of electromagnetic meters can be very straightforward. providing much lower flow for use whilst at the same time replenishing the reservoir for the next day.• • • • • • • Isolating valves either side of the meter. or the provision of access for the retrospective fitting of ‘clamp on’ ultrasonic flowmeters. sensor and interconnecting cables). The meter can be buried. This is certainly not true! Mechanical flowmeters after periods of use do not retain their original calibration. 4. The meter. Nevertheless. Depending on the type of installation. They do not need an upstream strainer. Free draining meter pit Ease of access to the meter. not all the above precautions for mechanical meters may be deemed necessary. they can be installed without a chamber altogether. This can result in significant cost savings. during the normal working day. one manufacturer claiming it takes less than half an hour to evaluate the status of the complete system (i. A drain valve to empty the meter.

The maximum flow required. either actual or assessed. class and type. Removing a section of pipe for inspection may be more valuable where there is concern. Will be specified by flow (Qn). 4. It is practicable to do this in a workshop with testing facilities. or by installing a full bore meter which can subsequently be changed if found to be incorrectly sized.2 General Specification All meters specified should conform to the following basic characteristics: i. but it is worth considering mains power supply if it is readily and cheaply available.In the latter case the prime considerations would be to choose a meter sensitive enough to record very low rates of flow. but by definition. ii. is desirable but not essential. and usually without a supply of electricity. remote read-out and integration. Will be capable of providing a pulsed output to an agreed standard specification which will be available without disturbing certification seals. The method chosen will depend on the size of the main and the dimensions of the proposed meter chamber. in the past. iii. been of helical vane mechanical type.7. The minimum flow. which otherwise would be unmeasured. Given 47 . District meters of the size likely to be encountered (less than 300 mm.7.5% accuracy. or on site with the discharge from the pipe beyond the meter being registered through a calibrated check meter. and usually uni-directional) are somewhat easier to calibrate than larger meters. All these requirements can be met by a battery. If the existing flow information is inadequate. and to give an indication of the flows at the proposed district metering points. The average flow (m3/day) calculated from the periodic volume divided by the number of days. possibly difficult for access (i. iii. a district meter is usually situated where it is remote from a normal working base. in the roadway). Meters should be selected to ensure that at least 95% of the flow is above Qt and preferably below Qmax. these meters have almost always. a wide variety of meters may appear to be suitable for use as district meters. This can be done either by the use of an insertion flow meter. Larger meters will be maintainable in situ by the removal and replacement of the measuring elements. In order to specify a meter for new installations it is necessary to establish: i. The condition may be known from previous records if recent repairs or alterations have been carried out. All DMA meters should have the capability of electronic adaptation to provide logging. to check the effect of the flows at the proposed valve closures. The use of network analysis to identity current problems. Meters should be selected to measure at least 95% of flow at + 2.e. In general the average flow and most (60%) of the volume should be measured between Qt and Qnom. The internal condition of the pipeline may be a significant factor in the selection of a suitable meter. It is practicable to examine the inside of the pipe with an endoscope but this may only be worthwhile if serious doubts about the internal conditions exist.3 Types of District Meter In theory. a flow survey must be carried out. not by diameter. ii. For this reason. 4.

particularly in water distribution networks. it may be impracticable to shut down the supply. Mechanical meters should be installed so that they have a positive head of liquid upstream.1 Mechanical Meters . battery life is about three years. In exceptional circumstances. This type of meter has now had many years of use and development in the water industry and has the advantages of requiring no power.2 should be adopted. but at reduced accuracy. 4. meters in this category are most numerous. mechanical meters may not be suitable. the measuring element takes the form of a helical vane mounted centrally in a measuring chamber with its axis along the direction of flow. Often the bore of the pipework will be a size less then that of adjacent pipework. they are ideally suited to district meter use. but has the disadvantage of moving mechanical parts which will wear. Occasionally however.8. due to reverse flow characteristics or the presence of suspended matter. and require virtually no maintenance. If so.Mechanical flow meters in liquid service should operate with sufficient head to prevent cavitation and avoid the resulting errors or damage.The mechanical flow transducer should be installed in process pipework which is free of vibration. resulting in degraded low flow performance. by damaging bearings and seals. O p e r a t i n g H e a d .that the environmental conditions are suitable and that these meters can be maintained adequately. At present. can cause these meters to over-speed. also a feature of mains rehabilitation. Electromagnetic flow meters are a viable alternative to the helical vane type. and in this situation the use of a retrofit ‘time of flight’ ultrasonics meter. I n s t a l l a t i o n P r a c t i c e . properly calibrated for the local conditions. low capital cost and ease of maintenance. 4. again with the potential to damage seals and bearings. This head should be equivalent to at least twice the anticipated pressure drop through the meter. Water flow directed evenly onto these vanes will cause rotation which is transmitted to the undergear of the meter register by means of a ceramic magnetic coupling. Grit and particulate in the line can cause deterioration in performance. and assuming continuous full use. In this type of meter. Electrical transmission of this information is normally achieved by a suitably positioned magnetic reed-switch actuated by a rotating magnet in the meter register. the pipeline configuration shown in Figure 4. and necessitating regular maintenance/ repair. or an insertion-type point velocity probe. 48 .Helix (Woltmann) Description Inherently only suitable for water metering applications. Provision must be made for a routine battery replacement.Accuracy and repeatability of mechanical meters is especially dependent upon upstream and downstream piping arrangements. The vane consists of a hollow cylinder with accurately formed wings.8.2 Operational Requirements Location . If a power supply is unavailable. would provide an alternative. abrasive material can be passed through the meter . they can be supplied to operate from a long life disposable battery. This rotation is proportional to the rate of flow. The passage of air. the helical vane type of meter is cheap and accurate over wide ranging flows and provides an easy and cheap solution to district metering. because of the low flow characteristics. particularly at the lower end of their range. If the condition in the distribution system is not gritty and the water is clear and free of suspended matter.8 4. During mains rehabilitation in particular.

where shutdown is considered undesirable.9. In this application. Bypass Piping . with a valve in between. However. Its major disadvantage has traditionally been its relatively high power requirement. the meter should be in the main run and the bypass should be line size and placed at least 10 diameters upstream and 5 diameters downstream of the meter. The meter is inherently bi-directional and suitable for both clean and dirty water applications. If bypassed. a bypass must be provided to permit process operation while the meter is being changed. If a conventional bypass arrangement is impractical. F e a t u res . As the pipe is full at the point of measurement. which necessitates the provision of a mains power supply.The need for bypass piping is determined by the application.3 Maintenance Considerations C l e a n i n g a n d P u r g i n g . If strainers are used.9 4. It should be noted that helical vane meter internals can be removed without taking the meter out of line. The meter should also be installed horizontally. consideration should be given to making provision for a temporary bypass. have now been largely overcome. associated with interfering voltage pick-up.1 Electromagnetic Flowmeters Description The basic principle of operation of this type of flowmeter is based on Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction which states that if an electric conductor moves in a magnetic field. The pipework should be carefully aligned before fitting the meter. and periodically during operation.8. an EMF is induced whose amplitude is dependent on the force of the magnetic field. high power assumption and ‘zero drift’. this situation has now been resolved with the development of new technology. It may be necessary to isolate and disassemble the flowmeter for maintenance purposes. 4. Operational flow range of more than 1000:1 Since this type of meter tends to average the velocity profile between the electrodes. consideration should be given to the use of strainers upstream to prevent foreign matter from damaging the device or blocking the flow passages. giving the advantage of negligible pressure drop. and the meter fitted with the direction of flow arrow correct. This would involve the insertion of two hydrants either side of the meter. The initial disadvantages of this type of system.5 % of full scale although + 0. In continuous service applications. or (c) solids build-up. 4. the conductor is the liquid being metered and it is the fluid velocity that is being measured.Accuracy of the magnetic flowmeter is typically + 0. they should be cleaned after flushing. Some of the conditions which may necessitate disassembly of the meter are (a) damage caused by foreign material.The meter should be installed only after the process pipework has been cleaned and flushed. In areas with a history of dirty water problems. (b) wear. and with a ‘pulse unit’ attachment for data logger purposes. although this is not required with some types of logger. and is inherently maintenance free. 49 . The meter is effectively non-intrusive.5 % of actual flowrate is available from some manufacturers. neither long runs of pipe (up or downstream) nor flow straighteners are needed unless percent of rate of accuracy is required.Care should be exercised in the installation of flanged meters to see that the pipeline gaskets do not interfere with the flow pattern by protruding into the flow stream. velocity and flow rate are directly related. as performance characteristics are different for forward and reverse flow.

lined metal. If mounted vertically. The magnetic flowmeter responds only to the velocity of the flow stream and. The manufacturer’s instructions on grounding and jumper arrangement should be followed carefully. it is always necessary to make a grounding connection to the liquid. This grounding connection is extremely important and must be done as recommended if the system is to operate properly. thus eliminating the need for grounding/earthing flanges C a t h o d i c P rotection: If the detector head is installed in a system that is cathodically protected. flow should be from bottom to top to assure a full pipe. Consequently.2 Operational Requirements Manufacturer’s instructions should be followed where maximum accuracy is required. but a minimum upstream straight length of 5 pipe diameters and a minimum downstream straight length of 2 pipe diameters is recommended. 4. These precautions will limit the magnitude of any resultant spurious magnetic fields. Jumpers from the meter body to the piping are always required. unless internal grounding has been provided in the transmitter. A large variety of sizes are available (25mm to 2500mm or even larger). Battery powering is now possible. any current at supply frequency flowing through the body of the detector head does not exceed 10A rms. or at an angle). 50 . I n s tallatio n A r r a n g e m e n t . Electrical Installation . As development has continued. (A small chain of bubbles moving along the top of the flow line could prevent the top electrode from contacting the liquid). If the meter is installed in non-metallic piping. viscosity and static pressure. the piping and the flowmeter.G e n e r a l : The magnetic flow transmitter tube may be installed in any position (vertical. consideration should be given to the use of an integral flow tube/transmitter.9. How this contact is achieved depends upon the meter construction and the type of adjacent piping (unlined metal. but it must run full of liquid to ensure accurate measurement. is independent of density. the electrode axis should not be in a vertical plane. A continuous electrical contact to the same ground potential is necessary between the flowing liquid.The measurement signal generated in most flow tubes is in the order of 1mV and source impedance often exceeds 1Mohm. When mounted horizontally. care must be taken to minimise electrical interference. therefore. This continuous contact is especially important if the conductivity of the liquid is low. special precautions should be taken to ensure that: • • current at supply frequency does not flow through the liquid in the detector head.There is negligible pressure drop. This connection is achieved by means of a metallic grounding ring between the flanges. Stress on the flow tube must be avoided. E l e c t r i c a l G ro u n d i n g / E a rt h i n g : The importance of proper grounding cannot be overemphasised It is necessary for the safety of personnel and for satisfactory flow measurement. so adjustable couplings are helpful. some manufacturers’ meters now have an in-built grounding/earthing electrode. Piping should always be grounded. Electrical connections between the flow transducer and a remote converter or receiver unit should not exceed the maximum distance permitted by the manufacturer. and flange nuts must only be tightened to the specified torque. or non-metallic ). horizontal. In locations subject to high ambient electrical noise.

Two transducers are inserted into the pipe through a single entry point. The field coil develops an electromagnetic field in the region of the sensor and the electrodes pick up a voltage generated which is proportional to point velocity in the vicinity of the probe. It uses a transducer to pick up electronic pulse signals.11 4. without any moving parts. A very accurate device in operation. hence it can be installed and withdrawn under pressure without disruption to supply. because it has no moving parts. or plus or minus 2mm/sec.2 Fluidic Oscillation A recent development in small revenue meters. and can be precisely located for carrying out a flow traverse. it is best suited for use as a revenue meter on customer’s supplies. with the obvious advantage of no moving parts. 4. Initial trials have been promising. an ultrasonic insertion probe has been developed. 4. and eliminates errors due to flow changes. and mounted close to the pipe wall. which is housed in a protective rotor cage and mounted on the end of a supporting insertion rod.11. This electromagnetic probe is a solid state competitor for the insertion turbine. it promises high accuracy throughout a very long life. Changes in flow during the traverse. This method reduces problems associated with blockage. with good accuracy being demonstrated. It consists of a rotor. and incorrect positioning of the probe. in which case they must be positioned to monitor mean velocity. and measure actual volume of water passed in a given time by dividing the flow into discrete volumes.1 Domestic Revenue Meters Positive Displacement Positive displacement meters are used to determine totalised flow.4. and.10 4. The following types are most common: • • Electromagnetic Turbine The electromagnetic device is basically an inside-out version of the electromagnetic full-bore device. is unaffected when air is present.10.1 Insertion Velocity Probes Description It is often desirable in flow studies and survey work to be able to measure the velocity at a point within the flow pattern to determine either mean velocity or flow profile. and hence no wear or blockage problems. The probe is bi-directional. are possible sources of error. approximately 20mm in diameter. The operating principle for the insertion turbine device is the same as for a full bore pipeline flowmeter. it is possible. 51 .11. Its mechanical nature and inherent high pressure drop make it unsuitable for most distribution metering applications. summing the volumes as they pass through the meter. and operates with an accuracy of plus or minus 2% of the flow. In normal applications. The velocity probe consists of a cylindrical sensor/probe shape which houses the field coil and two diametrically opposed pick up electrodes. which relate to the flow velocity of the oscillating water jet. to use such devices as low cost permanent flowmeters. such a device would be inserted through a gate valve assembly on the pipeline. However. with minimum costs. though not necessarily recommended. The meter is immune to particles. whichever is the greater. More recently.

both encoded and pulse output. and the data downloaded directly into a computer. Meters can be read visually. The same company also offers an automatic.Simple battery replacement (used to power the electronics) every ten years is the only maintenance required. or by a touch pad. This meter. which will work with all commonly available meters. 52 . should have significant impact in the domestic/small revenue meter market. meter reading system. or via a radio signal. developed by a UK company within the Severn Trent Group.

) which are each Subdivided into meter ed District Meter Areas (DMAs) These are the key ‘Building Block’ unit s (which may be subdivided into In which the Waste Meter Areas (WMAs )) leak can finally be located 53 .C. 700 properties M M M Sour ce Meter measures Total Output M M Each Source is Metered to the Supply area which is Subdivided into metered Operational Control Systems (O.1 Division of Water Distribution System Intak e and Treatment Works Meter measures flow into Operational Contro l Systems Dist rict meter measures flow into District Meter Area (DMA) e. 2000 properties Waste meter measures flow into Waste Meter Area e.g.Figure 4.S.g.

Figure 4.2 Mechanical Meter Installation Valve Helix meter Strainer Main FLOW Main FLOW Min 5 dia Straight pipe Min 2 dia Straight pipe 54 .

especially if there are large lengths of pipe without fittings. The leak noise detected therefore. The particular distribution of frequencies produced by a leak is specific to that one particular leak and will depend upon such factors as the nature of the leak. the position of highest sound intensity is not necessarily the position nearest to the leak. and are available in a variety of woods and metals. to an indicating meter. easy to employ. To further assist the electronic device. Interference from traffic noise. at a velocity which depends upon both the characteristics of water and the pipe material. appear to get on just as well with their standard stopcock key which is an iron rod about 1 metre long. or where the leak noise is low. and fortunately not commonplace. different microphones are normally available depending upon whether the sounding is done on metallic pipe and fittings. will depend upon the position at which a sounding is made. The more professional-looking devices may be aluminium tube with an ebonite ear-piece. and other frequencies may be amplified due to the presence of cavities or other buried underground equipment. and hence is a more sensitive method of determining the position of maximum noise intensity than the stethoscope. especially if the latter’s operator is unskilled. but sometimes the unwanted noise may have a similar frequency to that of the leak. Furthermore.2 Stethoscopes (‘Listening’ or ‘Sounding’ Sticks) This is the traditional method employed in the Industry. pipe material. This may not be easy. routine leak location is dependent upon sound being generated by water escaping from the pipe. or the background noise is high. to a loudspeaker. The output of the amplifier can be fed to headphones. 55 . leaving more distance for the more difficult surface sounding. with ground microphones. nature of the ground into which the leak is discharging. also play their part. size of the orifice. or whether that ground is waterlogged. of course. and non-metallic pipe materials also hinder location. transferring the leak noise to the ear with a minimum of attenuation. and intuition. or on non-metallic pipes. At worst. Electronic devices. The object. and are limited by the performance of the human ear. and not all ambient noise can be isolated out. which introduces more subjectivity. Not all leaks produce a detectable noise. but entail considerable skill in their use. or on the ground surface. knowledge of the area and consumers. and also as a final confirmation of leak position detected by a correlator. and some are inaudible to the human ear. 5. As the sound travels away from the leak its character changes slightly. Some are collapsible with short stems. Water leaking from a pressurised main emits sound over a range of frequencies and produces a hissing noise. 5. Many operatives. Experience. pressure. seeking to amplify the leak noise whilst seeking to filter out the amplification of extraneous noise. They are passive devices. They are widely used.1 DETECTION EQUIPMENT Detection Principles Generally speaking. an interactive procedure involving dry hole excavations may ensue before the leak is found. electronics can help. are sometimes used as routine tools to survey areas of suspected leakage.5. An indicating meter will display a measure of the total sound intensity received by the microphone. which enables them to be conveniently carried in the pocket and can also be used for sounding on top of valve keys. These devices usually consist of a microphone. however. Training and experience are needed to give the best results. amplifier and frequency filters. since higher frequencies will be attenuated with distance. Frequency filter selection facilities can be a great help in this regard.3 Electronic Sounding Devices Where leaks produce a sound that is inaudible to the human ear. The sound so produced will travel through the pipe. or to a combination of all three. and could also travel through the ground surrounding the pipe. is to identify the position of maximum sound intensity. Stethoscopes can be used for either direct or indirect sounding. 5.

which are placed on fittings such as hydrants or valves on either side of the leak. or accelerometers (transducers). from a purely theoretical point of view. As leak noise travels away from the leak. A major disadvantage of this was that if high consumptions had been identified during the first part of a test. this attenuation results in the absorption of the 56 . and the loss associated with these valves is immediately indicated by the changes in flow. the further time spent closing valves was unnecessary. As a pipe becomes ‘softer’. This unit collects data at a user selectable time interval (typically 1 minute) and transmits this information to the receiver which displays the flow rate immediately for operation inspection. However. but that again necessitated a man back at the meter to judge immediate response. iii. Figure 5. However. The time delay for this peak to be produced is measured by means of a calibrated time trace. The introduction of wax charts and then data loggers eliminated the necessity for the ‘man at the meter’.they can discriminate signals inaudible to the human ear. It has two sensors. but with reduced manpower and time. down the pipe wall in both directions. Changes in flow are relayed to the operators via the voice radio network. 5. The apparent velocity is affected by the pipe material. searching for similarity. The next development was to have electronic on-site flow readout at the meter. i. The logger/ transmitter is attached to the incoming zone meter. and a comparison made of the signals. When the correlation is achieved. By moving through the zone and operating the test valves. and provided greater accuracy. Electronic devices with separate microphones for direct and surface sounding are likely to be more effective than devices with only a single microphone (normally for surface sounding). or the next day. The noise is converted into electrical signals. The 2-part system comprises a logger/transmitter and display/receiver.5 Leak Noise Correlator (LNC) This instrument does not directly seek the point of highest sound intensity. and because of this dependency on operator skill and frequency of use. Electronic devices are likely to be more effective than stethoscopes in situations when the leak noise is low or where the background noise is high . it is attenuated by the material of the pipe. expensive and caused extensive disruption to customers. with one man monitoring the meter. a display shows a typical high amplitude peak. It is also affected by the diameter of the pipe. ii. One of the parameters used in the calculation is the velocity of sound within the particular pipe material. the following conclusions might be expected by comparing the performance of stethoscopes with electronic devices and comparing one device with another. the apparent speed of sound within it becomes slower. and even between detectors and stethoscopes are not readily made.4 The Mobile Advanced Step Tester (MAST) The primary function of MAST is the rapid identification of high consumption areas within ‘waste zones’ via the basic concept of traditional ‘step testing’ methods. In the case of softer. 5. whilst usually two men operate the valves.Experience is still required in the operation of electronic detectors. but a consistent noise source. It is relatively unaffected by background noise. the operator is always aware of the flow status. It has been usual for ‘step tests’ to be performed using the ‘man at the meter’ method. MAST combines these methods and relays the information constantly to the valve operator (as with the ‘man at the meter’ method) whilst providing the accuracy of a data logger. the operators were not aware of the flow changes until the end of a test. plastic materials. and uses the technique of crosscorrelation to determine the difference in time between the leak noise reaching the two sensors. comparisons between individual detectors. All instruments give better response when direct sounding on metallic pipelines than on nonmetallic pipes or the surface.1 explains the simple mathematics involved in the correlator calculation.

have extended operation range due to more sensitive sensors. In addition. In early correlators. thus enabling the operator to build up a picture of the actual pipe velocities in a particular area. and can be operated by one man because the signals are transmitted by radio. They help to reduce leakage levels and operating costs simultaneously by facilitating the monitoring. and at a greater distance. on plastic pipes. or particular ‘trouble-spot’. hydrants. Current instruments now do all the mathematics themselves. In conclusion. Noise loggers usually operate during the night. compared with traditional sounding stick use (sometimes known as ‘stop tap bashing’). More recently.higher leak noise frequencies. also calculating the actual speed of sound in that particular run of pipework if necessary.) is magnetic. it may be said that the LNC offers: • • • • • Accurate leak location in high ambient noise Location of leakage with relatively low acoustic output Location within systems containing few fittings for direct sounding About 90% trial hole accuracy with consequent excavation/backfilling/ reinstatement cost reductions No need for an educated ear (though machine use training is very important). The development of the LNC has continued. and is usually used in clusters of 6. and automatically give the leak position. and to work where pipe details are not known. 5.) enables correlation on sounds of lower frequency and lower intensity. 5. and facilitate identification of the low level noise often associated with leaks on larger diameter mains. This makes them a more effective survey tool than the correlator. making it difficult to track down leakage sources.6. They do not require a dedicated vehicle. easier to use. which has enabled correlation to be performed on all types of pipe material. they are considerably more sensitive than the human ear. of large areas quickly and effectively. They are now an integral part of leak detection methodology.6.6 5. and promise greater cost-effectiveness in the further lowering of leakage levels now being pursued by the UK Water Suppliers. and some have the signals digitised at source. the more it is dominated by its lower frequency component. hydrant outlets etc. and with much reduced manpower. at the time of lowest background noise and highest pressure. They collect up to 2 57 . The use of hydrophones (sensors coming into direct contact with the water via standpipes. although hydrophones can be used to increase sensitivity if a ‘wet’ connection is available. The new generation are smaller. Coupling to metal fittings (valves. They have been proven in urban areas where leakage is difficult to detect even by correlator use. such that the further away from the leak that the noise travels. Figure 5.1 Leak Noise Loggers Introduction Noise (or acoustic) loggers are probably the most significant innovation in leak detection since the correlator.2 indicates how important it can be to know the actual route of a main between the sensor positions. enabling 30 or 60 to be deployed at one time. or surveying. correlation was difficult on nonmetallic pipes because sensor technology was inadeqaute to correlate at low frequencies. This is of particular help with plastic pipes and in rural areas. The latest correlators incorporate sensors with an extended low frequency response. This has made the LNC more flexible. etc. economies of scale have lead to accumulation of 5 or even 10 sets together. and need only receive a leak signal at one sensor. and in low-pressure areas. and also where the local mains system is complicated.2 Use as a Temporary Survey Tool This version is used to survey an area. and it has become the ‘workhorse’ of leak pinpointing.

the driver need not leave his transport. Whilst correct interpretation of the presented data is crucial. and where legitimate water demand continues. and no problems from being immersed in water. or the general network condition/status. By comparing the sound level and spread recorded at each logger. Additional surveys to check the effect of repair work are equally simple and quick. since patrols can be done during the day by one person. 5. Their installation and function do not interrupt supplies. These loggers are again installed at fittings via a simple magnetic coupling. as well as localise it. consistent noise peak. and an LCD screen displays the leak characteristics against the logger identification number and location. or continuous system draw-offs. such as PRVs. Each unit is ‘intelligent’. the unit enters an alarm state and transmits a radio signal to indicate a ‘leak condition’.3 Use as a Permanent Monitoring Tool This latest development of the version and principles described above is another major leap forward in detection technology. Providing a vehicle can pass within about 50 metres of the logger. Once a leak has been repaired. the user can identify the approximate location of the leak and then focus attention on this section. but they do ‘localise’ it. it will not flag up that particular leak. enabling correlation work and precise location to concentrate solely on suspect areas. being pre-programmed to operate automatically. or stop. if required. is best avoided. the next time that stretch of main is patrolled. or can be easily hand-held. Signals are received by a module which can be mounted in a patrolling vehicle. Data reception is confirmed audibly.6. 58 . Unlike correlators. as soon as a possible leak is detected. and saves a lot of time in the data gathering process. This is obviously helpful when ‘patrolling’ some areas. and without the risk of equipment theft that can be associated with correlator use in busy areas. rules out step-testing as a leak localisation method. subjective assessment of a noise. with no maintenance requirement. whilst not exceeding 30 miles per hour. However. The separation distance between loggers depends primarily on the pipe material. They listen over a much longer period for the constant source of noise generated by a leak. a radio signal is transmitted to indicate normal background conditions. as they are non-invasive. By recording over a two-hour period.hours of noise data at one-second intervals. since the module will receive data whilst moving. before analysis. There is no need to re-programme a logger once it is permanently installed. with plastic materials requiring closer spacing than metallic. This ‘receiving module’ analyses and ‘homes in’ on signals to identify the location of units indicating a ‘leak condition’. If no leak is present. They do not precisely locate a leak. requiring no specialist labour or night work. the presence of a leak being indicated graphically by a well-defined. They can be easily deployed. they are suited to busy night-time areas where traffic noise remains a problem. They are an alternative to step testing. No night work is required for this method of monitoring/surveying. and can be moved around to other locations to obtain several night’s data. Once removed from the fitting. they can be immmediately interogated by a portable PC. these loggers do not rely on the same noise frequency arriving at two points with a short time delay. but are battery powered for up to ten years. and can be printed out or downloaded to a PC. The information is stored in the module’s memory. or affect the customer in any way. their use does remove some of the individual. and adapts itself to its environment. Proximity to loud noise sources. if used by skilled and fully trained personnel. They are analysed by powerful electronic software. the logger(s) that identified and localised it will recalibrate automatically so that. taking about 5 minutes to do so. and are particularly helpful where the age and condition of valves. and with the added advantage that they do not disturb the operational system. It has the potential to cause a major re-think about how to monitor areas for leakage. Already it is proving that it is possible to lower leakage levels further than ever before. and thus the approximate position of a likely leak. and at reduced operating costs.

alternatively. Bar holes are then made along the line of the main at regular intervals and a hand-held detector. and water is supplied through a meter.7. just for those parts that are known problem areas. sensitive to the gas. Its expense is obvious.7. If the flow still continues. but it is now preferable to use sulphur hexafluoride. or hydrogen.7. It will not work with water saturated soil. 5. It is only by good fortune that a precise leak location can be made using these methods. 5.4 Cut and Cap Method This ‘last resort’ technique requires no special equipment.3 Gas Tracer Technique In this method. or. 5. has in times past. 5. and awaits validation as an every day.7 5. a non-toxic water soluble gas is added to the water supply in the area of suspected leakage. been nitrous oxide. The suspected main is isolated from all other connections.1 Non-Acoustic Equipment and Techniques Introduction The techniques described below do not depend upon leak noise. The gas used. cost effective alternative to acoustic methods. the leak is downstream of the centre capping. The process is repeated by subsequent section division.It can be seen that this piece of technology offers the possibility of continuous. These techniques are seldom used. inspects each hole for the presence of the gas which will have come back out of solution as it escaped from the leak.2 Ground Probing Radar A new development with little track record in the UK. permanent monitoring for leakage for 100% of a distribution system. 59 . The technique is more suitable for rural mains and trunk mains where the absence of fittings prevents the use of normal sounding techniques.7. if the flow ceases. the leak lies between the meter and the end cap. and bar holes can be easily made. It uses radar signals and electronic imaging of the reflected signals to locate underground leakage. the ‘cut and cap’ method in particular being very inefficient and expensive. The main is cut and capped in the centre.

L) v (tv + L) 2 and the time taken for it to reach B where v=velocity of sound in the pipe. A & B.1 Leak NoiseCorrelator Calculation A a Correlator input Leak noise source L-a B A a v Delay Line B L-a v Time t Correlator output I ncreasing time delay t The figure shows a length of main which contains a noise producing leak with the microphones. placed either side. The difference in time to reach the two microphones (t) = = Re-arranging. ‘L’.a) v (2a . the position of the leak is given by a = 60 . The time taken for the leak noise to reach A = a v (L . The unknown distance of the leak from microphone A is small ‘a’ and the total distance between the microphones.Figure 5.

2 Sources of Error in Distance Measurement Leak noise travels along the length of the pipe. a) Pipe with many Bends SENSOR PAVEMENT SENSO R FITTING TRUE PIPE SHAPE FITTING b) ‘T’ Sections PAVEMENT SENSOR ASSUMED PI PE LENGTH SENSOR GTH LEN PE PI UAL ACT PAVEMENT FITTING FITTING 61 . it is important to know exactly how the pipe runs. When using the correlator.Figure 5. in order to measure the total length of the pipe. Here are two situations in which mistakes are often made in assessing pipe length.

Despite the drawbacks involved in all the methods described. relying on the usual high pressures to make a significant leakage obvious to farmers or the public who will then notify the Water Supplier. Sounding. 6. by a study of trends. UK experience shows that lack of identification and maintenance of ageing valves and fittings can cause serious embarassment when things go wrong. Trunk mains usually have a number of large meters associated with them. illegal connections. is connected between the two tappings. such an approach can. especially when a number of measurements have to be aggregated. one upstream and one downstream. Check operation of all key valves (and inspection for gland packing etc. and secondly. Any leakage on the section under test will registered on the meter.1 EQUIPMENT AND LEAKAGE DETECTION TECHNIQUES FOR TRUNK MAINS Introduction Monitoring of leakage on trunk mains is notoriously difficult and inconvenient. However. that the main has to be taken out of service. This method has the disadvantage that trunk mains normally have few sluice valves along their length and that an accurate measurement depends upon the drop tight closure of these valves. if either the upstream or the downstream valve is letting-by a false measurement of leakage will be obtained. The advantage of this method is that it utilises equipment that will be available. offtakes.). Disadvantages are. 6. It is much smaller in total volume than that occurring on the distribution system.6. Marshy ground. but even so may not be comprehensively covered. changes in vegetation growth. and the precise location of such can be very time consuming. proper preventative maintenance and inspection procedures are essential. typically a 25mm semi-positive displacement flow meter. because trunk mains and aqueducts are vital and expensive assets. 25mm tappings are made on either side of the upstream valve. looking for signs of water. These programmes will include: • • • • • • Surface inspection of the line of aqueduct. Only the last two of these are mentioned since the other methods have previously been described. Excavation down to the pipeline every few years to check for graphitisation and other external corrosion. and a small meter. Internal inspection of the aqueduct.2 Meter on Bypass The easiest method of measuring trunk main leakage is to close two valves on the line. Additionally. Regular checking of cathodic protection systems. reservoirs. The first three methods of measurement referred to below only give the approximate positions of leaks. using CCTV cameras as necessary. indicate likely leaks as they occur. However. infra-red photography and leak noise correlation are all possible means of more precise location. The approximate position of any leakage measured can be determined by the successive closing of any sluice valves along the main. often taking the form of sudden eruptive bursts due to the high operating pressures. gas tracer techniques. or any other tell-tale signs. Neglect can mean wasteful and dangerous leaks go unnoticed until they become catastrophic and threaten supplies to large areas. Comparisons of input and output meters on the aqueduct and a mass balance assessment of water flows (‘Trunk main DMAs’ are sometimes feasible). at treatment works. it is very important to keep monitoring trunk mains and their leakage. the meters may not be sufficiently accurate to give confidence regarding discrepancies caused by leakage. to check internal corrosion. in the manner of a step test. firstly. permeable ground and roadways do not help such a search. The simplest and most common way of looking for trunk main leakage is to walk the length of the main. The reality of the situation is that in general a ‘passive’ policy is often applied to trunk main leakage. pumping stations. demanding prompt attention. 62 .

approximately 24 hours later. It can be used to determine roughly the position of the leak. it is necessary to repeat the measurement with the meters exchanged end for end. At first sight. and just upstream of. and sometimes the difference between two measurements indicates a net gain along the length of the main. For leak detection purposes this is adequate. the thought of using two flow measurements made with insertion meters would appear to add to this problem. The disadvantage is that the trunk main has to be isolated from supply. and to use a more sophisticated analysis of the data. however. but with less accuracy. but of course is very much cheaper. it is possible to determine the degree of leakage between the two measurement points.3 Heat Pulse Flow Meter The second method of measuring the trunk main leakage is to use the heat pulse flow meter. the first to install the meters and the second. by comparing upstream flow with downstream flow. Consequently. its approximate position can be determined by closing valves. 63 . The meter will. Inserting the meter through a tapping adjacent to. In view of the disadvantages of this method. The meters can also be inserted through additional tappings made along the length of the main to determine roughly the position of the leak. and inserting the meter through a tapping made at some upstream point. whereas the velocity differences between the two measurement points due to leakage will be independent of velocity. straight tapping. Differences in the velocity at the two measurement points caused by differences in the velocity profile or cross-sectional area will vary in a velocity proportional manner. since problems of integrating the velocity profile to obtain mean velocity. If it is found that leakage does exist along the main. indicate a much higher velocity than 25mm per second. This is an insertion type meter and will pass through any 25mm clear. since the two meters are not used to make flow measurements as such. The meter is used by isolating the trunk main at some downstream point. and down to a minimum of 3mm per second. The advantage of this method of trunk main leak measurement is that it is not necessary to take the trunk main out of supply in order to make the measurement. As the rate of flow through a trunk main varies.6. or upstream velocity with downstream velocity over a range of flows. which will involve the use of a computer programme. The meter is capable of measuring velocities in the range of 2 to 25mm per second with an accuracy of about + lmm per second. Any flow registered by the meter will be leakage along that trunk main plus any water which is letting-by the shut valve. to remove the meters and to collect the data. a better technique is to insert the meter through additional tappings made along the length of the main to determine whether the leakage is upstream or downstream of this additional tapping.4 Pairs of Insertion Turbine Meters It is well known that in situations where flow meters are installed on the inlet and outlet of the trunk main. and uncertainties about the exact cross-sectional area of the pipeline at the point of measurement. The advantages of this method of trunk main leakage measurement are: a) b) The method accounts for any water which is ‘let by’ by the valves. the shut valve will provide a measure of water passing the valve and the difference between the two readings is the leakage along the length of the main. since leakage velocities greater than 25mm per second will usually warrant further investigation. 6. could increase the errors. only very large leaks can be detected because of errors in the meters themselves. This is equivalent to cutting and capping. Manual analysis of the flow data obtained is sufficient to detect leaks producing velocities in the main equivalent to l0mm per second or greater. the velocity at the two measurement points also varies. albeit for a short period of time. For detection of leaks below l0mm per second. The disadvantage is that it requires two site visits.

If the cost of the extra hardware and ancillaries is favourable. Development work continues. moving trunk mains detection from a largely ‘passive’ to an ‘active’ policy. and where the climate is hot and/or dry.6. and it may yet find its place in rural mains situations. particularly where access is difficult. but from reports seen. However. developments with computer hardware enable correlations to take place utilising hydrophone sensors placed significant distances apart.5 Infra-Red Photography This is a technique which has been applied in some parts of the UK. This ‘long distance’ correlator therefore looks to be a promising technique. It relies on changes in the temperature of the ground caused by the presence of moisture (hopefully leakage) to be identified by an infra-red camera carried by an aircraft flying along the route of the main. 64 . leakage surveys of trunk mains may well be around the corner. 6. Successful tests have been reported with such sensors 5kms apart. it has not yet proved its worth. The LNC has been restricted in its use on trunk mains largely because of the few access points generally available. which obviously has to be clearly identifiable.6 Leak Noise Correlation This technique has been previously explained in its use in the distribution system.

SERVICES AND VALVES Introduction Being able to easily identify the location of mains and services is an obvious requirement if leakage is to be located and repaired.4. Needless to say.2 Depth of Service Pipe All service pipes in the UK should be laid with a minimum cover of 750 mm to the final finished ground level. If non-metallic pipes are in the trench.2 Location for Mains in a 2 Metre Footpath Mains routes involving all Utilities normally require in the UK a minimum clear width of 2. 7. The duct should be a minimum of 40 mm diameter. by tarmac in particular. 65 . to serve as a warning to excavators. highly visible plastic marker tape should be laid in the pipe trench. and are therefore recommended as standard locations. before any excavation commences. Valve and hydrant chambers help.0 metre and the prior agreement of all Utilities concerned.3.3. To avoid accidental damage (and asscoiated leakage). and must be replaced if they go missing.0 metres in the straight sections. can not only help the location procedure.1.1 IDENTIFICATION OF MAINS. 7. but vigilance is required to prevent their covers from being obscured. Under no circumstances should the cover be greater than 1350 mm.4 Proximity to Other Services The usual location of the service pipe in regard to other Utilities’ services in the UK is indicated in Figure 7.3 illustrates the normal arrangement in the UK for a service pipe where the water main and the service pipe are located in the same footpath (short-sided services). The relative depths of lay required for the various mains argue powerfully in favour of the lateral dispositions illustrated. where all Utilities are not involved. and service connections to houses. other Utilities should always be contacted to ensure there is an awareness of such plant. but also help identify other underground pipes and services when they appear in the excavation process. The disposition of mains involving all Utilities would normally be as indicated in Figure 7.3.7. a reduction in the route width may be acceptable. However. 7.3 Provision of Ducting A duct should be provided for all service pipes located under the carriageway (usually on long-sided services). No joints of the service pipe should be contained within the length of the duct. 7.1 Service Pipe Layouts General Arrangement of a Service Pipe Figure 7. and represent the best use of the limited space available. and clearly marked ‘Water Service Pipe’ at one metre intervals along its top. The recommended dispositions as illustrated in Figure 7. Standard positioning of mains in footpaths. 7.2 result from a fresh analysis of Utility needs in the UK. The lateral clearances between adjacent Utility mains are considered as the minimum. but it must have a clear width of at least 1. coloured blue.3.3 7. Roadside markers for such fittings are extremely helpful. this tape should contain a metallised mesh to aid subsequent location by detectors. 7. 300mm above the pipe soffit.

The alternating current may be caused to flow in the pipeline by either induction or conduction. 66 . nor to run out lengths of cable. Direct coupling .g.5 Alternative Layouts for Crossing Carriageway Generally. the installation of a coloured sleeve over the valve cap. All of the locators work by causing an alternating current to flow in the pipe and detecting the magnetic field thus produced. under normal circumstances every supply pipe should have a separate communication pipe and a separate ferrule connecting it to the water main. under certain exceptional circumstances. Induction is probably the most convenient method.5 7. 7. Z o n e / B o u n d a r y valve District (DMA) valve Valve controlling a private main Valve controlling a dialysis unit Yellow Red Green White 7. for example. 7. It must be stressed however that these alternative arrangements are not regarded as good practice and should only be used when the provision of separate communication pipes is not practicable.3. The direction of valve closure could be indicated as follows by the background colour of the sleeve:Clockwise closing Anti-clockwise closing Blue Black The function of the valve could be indicated by coloured bands on the sleeve e. because it is not necessary to have access to the pipeline.1 Electronic Pipe Locators I n t ro d u c t i o n All existing pipe locators used by the water industry come under the general heading of ‘low radio frequency instruments’ and can only be used for locating metallic pipelines. Under no circumstances.the transmitter is directly connected between a fitting on the pipeline and an earthstake driven into the ground at some distance from the pipe to be located. and the receiver used separately.5.the transmitter is connected by wires to two access points on the pipeline. Pipe locating equipment used inductively has the transmitter placed on the ground above the line of the pipe. the section between which. Equipment used to make the current flow in the pipeline by conduction can be used in two forms: a) b) Earthstake coupling . should the water service pipe be located nearer the gas service.The dimensions indicated are generally regarded as the minimum distances allowed between the various sections. or drive in earthstakes. more than one property may be connected to one communication pipe. is to be traced.4 Valve Identification Valves should be identified on site by. or problems may occur with impregnation of gas through the walls of the polyethylene water pipe. However.

6 Other Pipe Location Methods There are two other possibilities being considered for the location of pipes. 7. is that of discrimination between closely spaced mains and services.25 to 1. discrimination is likely to be better than 1 times depth if direct coupling is used. current-based methods can not be used to locate such pipes unless metallised marker tape is laid at the same time as the pipe. Plastic pipe locators therefore rely on the audiotracing of a noise genrated into the pipe or water column. For instruments used inductively.5. it is likely that discrimination between two parallel pipelines will only be achieved where the separation exceeds 1. shared by all pipe location equipment. 7.5 times the depth. They are generally less effective. With conductive coupling. They are both very much at a developmental stage. but at least offer the possibility of tracing the pipe. to line the inside of the pipe. 67 .4 Plastic Pipe Locators Since plastic is non-conductive.7. The second is to implant micro radio transmitters in the pipe wall that can be detected when in close proximity above the main. 7.3 Accuracy of location The sharpness of response of pipe location instruments to buried pipelines will depend on the depth and the mode of operation. similar to substances at use in the food industry.5. The location accuracy obtained with instruments used in the conductive mode will in most cases be better than instruments used inductively. plastic ones in particular. chemical coating.5.2 Discrimination The major problem. The degree of discrimination will depend on the mode of operation. The first is to use a traceable.

1 Water Main .2 Recommended Arrangement of Main in a 2m Footpath Dimensions in mm 2000 1550 1255 960 300 mm max Property Boundary 690 430 Road Cable TV 450 295 295 270 Water Elec Gas 260 Telecoms 430 68 .Position in 2m Footpath 300mm max Property Boundary Footpath Road Cable TV Telecomms Electricity Gas Meter & Stop Valve Water Figure 7.Figure 7.

4 Usual Location of Service Pipe to Property Dimensions in mm 450 450 750 Min 200 min 100 100 Electrici ty Telecomms Water Service Pipe Gas 69 .3 Typical Layout of Service Pipe Dimensions in mm Property boundary line 750mm 300mm max Plastic Tube 1350mm max 750mm min Boundary box / Stop valve 900mm 25mm nom bore Supply Pipe Maintained by consumer Service Pipe 25mm Polythene tube (Provide duct on road crossing) Communication P ipe Ferrule connect ion Water Main Figure 7.Figure 7.

tests have yielded the following approximation: (night time leakage rate) x 20 hrs = total daily leakage The multiplier of 20 instead of 24 hours takes into account the reduced day time pressure. In systems with either district or waste metering it is possible to aggregate the results of night flow measurements to produce an overall figure. and at a cost suitable for leakage measurement. then the water still flowing can be identified as leakage. the large majority of demand occurs in daytime and results in the classic and well known demand pattern shown in Figure 8. Although some commercial undertakings work shift systems and some households work at nights. It is. It is known as the Night-Line in the UK. It is known as the ‘bottom up’ approach. or ‘top down’ approach is of little use in assessing leakage on less than an annual basis. It can readily be seen that since most of the legitimate demand does not occur at night-time. NNF is normally expressed in litres per property per hour. however. rather than using generally available data. 8. provided that meter coverage is complete. To convert night time leakage rate to total daily leakage. in the size and flow range.. However. It is this difference which forms the key to leakage identification.) have to be made to arrive at a ‘net’ Night Flow (NNF). or if there are times (even temporarily) when normal usage ceases. It is subject to less significant errors than the TIF method. although its volume varies with pressure. This enables comparison to be made between areas and against set targets. and is usually the flow through a DMA meter for 1 hour between 3 am and 4 am (times may vary). The success of the method can be attributed to two major influences. 8. as it requires specific measurements to be taken.1. Fortunately there are methods by which this can be done.8. such as electromagnetic . Leakage is continuous. but it is not a leakage level itself. and eliminates the extraneous factors included in ‘unaccounted for water’. This is known as the ‘20 hour rule’. 70 .3 The Development of Continuous Monitoring Studies throughout the world have shown that continual monitoring for leakage control is cost effective on almost all distribution networks. more difficult to obtain. This is true for large conurbations and is surprisingly still accurate for quite small demand areas within the overall area. such figures will not include leakage from service reservoirs or trunk mains. It should also be remembered that the Net Night Flow also contains some legitimate domestic consumption. and that the rate of leakage at night is higher than the average daily rate because the pressure is at its highest at night. 8. for if ways can be found of separating legitimate usage from leakage. and therefore cannot be used to assess overall performance. whereas legitimate demand varies with time. most of the flow at night will be leakage. Firstly. Legitimate usage takes place mostly during daytime. because important deductions from it (such as for factories working shifts etc. the rapid advances in metering technology have expanded the flow range of the well established mechanical meters.1 LEAKAGE IDENTIFICATION AND LOCALISATION Demand Patterns The Total Integrated Flow (TIF). In all cases the leakage is running to waste continuously.2 Night Lines The flow of water at night is thus a very important factor in leakage control and detection. and have led to the introduction of other meter types. so another method is required for operational leakage detection purposes. A high night line is a good first indicator of high leakage levels.

The latest development is that of the permanent acoustic (or ‘noise’) loggers. the alternative methods available to determine it are as follows:i) Use a percentage of average daily consumption. This. loggers and boundary valves. 8. if overlooked. which includes minor undetectable leakage such as dripping taps and passing ball cocks. Measure MNF immediately prior to and during a ‘bank holiday’ period.5 Necessary Checks Having identified an area with indicated high unaccounted for levels at the meter(s). unauthorised use of fire mains). This consumption is included in the net night flow figure. they are not a replacement for flow monitoring. and.consider changing/converting old meters on major users where this is not the case. the techniques ranging from simple remote reading devices to programmable data loggers and telemetry.4 Determination of Leakage from Night Flows The primary use of net night flow data is to provide operational data on which to decide on the need for further action. which may be unreported bursts. allowing small changes in flow volumes to be observed. In many areas it will be negligible and can be ignored. replenishment of factory storage tanks. 8. of course. Research in the UK suggests an allowance of about 21/prop/hr. Some users may be able to supply night consumption data. they automatically localise the approximate position of a leak such that a leak noise correlator can be immediately employed to precisely locate it. Having determined the leakage.g. is different in that they monitor directly for leakage. 71 . a lot of time can be wasted. Furthermore. Some allowance will still be required for commercial users with an element of domestic type consumption.g. ii) iii) iv) v) It must also be remembered. This can be the source of big errors. Determination of the night metered consumption is more difficult. further investigation should be undertaken to locate the source of the extra losses. Take night meter readings of the major non-domestic users. Where it is not deemed negligible. not for flow into an area. This is satisfactory where the total non-domestic consumption is relatively small. this can be compared to previous readings and ‘norms’ for the area. and for industrial users with continuous processes. data capture has become increasingly sophisticated. Trade effluent data may provide useful information. In addition. on large complex sites there is a possibility of misuse of water (e. however that whilst domestic consumption is reduced to a minimum by measuring flows at night. Do a telephone survey of major consumers to determine whether there is significant night usage e. Use data loggers where the meters are logger compatible . The increasing use of domestic appliances overnight using economy electricity tariffs is also a factor which may need consideration. If the night flow in a district exceeds some threshold value. Even so.Secondly. the first step should be to verify the data and check DMA meters. Together these advances have encouraged a trend away from those leakage control methods requiring a routine survey (the inefficient regular sounding or the labour intensive regular waste metering) to those which utilise continual monitoring (district metering/combined metering). The minimum night flow (MNF) can be readily measured with reasonable accuracy for both district and waste meter areas. The difference will give the night consumption of industrial users who shutdown for the holiday. and a decision made on whether further action is required. and it may be prudent to check such connections before embarking on leak location work. it is not eliminated entirely.

Having recorded the flows in several such WMAs. but will also disclose any unknown connections to adjacent areas. Some WMAs may not be capable of being run for 24 hours due to low pressure in the area itself. comparisons may be helpful to confirm leakage between ‘bottom-up’ night flow calculations and ‘top down’ bulk consumption calculations. it has the permanent advantage that future investigation of the area is made easier. This is done by valving-off the area. it is necessary to close all the predetermined boundary valves. just leaving the critical valves to be closed. To carry out waste meter runs. Waste meter areas are now sometimes referred to as district meter sub-areas. or by judicious valving. 8. then it is possible to correlate the two and show that the increased flow is not leakage. The time taken to do this will. This can be done using established Waste Meter Areas within the DMA. although it is more capital expense. then a high increase of leakage is probably not indicated. On the other hand. and the system allowed to drain down through consumption and leakage.line. where a large area has to be kept ‘open’. The supply is then slowly re-introduced. and record the flow through the meter. Waste runs will be performed on each of the WMAs at an agreed frequency. In either case. This demonstrates the importance of monitoring leakage regularly and taking account of TREND in flow patterns. the decision can be made as to whether further action is required. then pressures monitored at key points in the area will approach zero. 72 . the flow into the sub-area will only be monitored temporarily. or in adjacent areas downstream. depend on the number of valve shuts required and also on whether the meter is fixed or mobile. Areas of less than about 1000 properties are more manageable for the final leak location. It may be that a meter registering water flow into a rural area suddenly shows an increase in demand. or flows creep up whilst housing stock is constant.‘Pressure Zero Testing’ should be carried out in order to confirm the integrity of the area. If the area is ‘tight’. and the need is for further investigations. then the pointers are towards increasing leakage. and performance monitored against the target level set for each DMA. On a weekly basis.1 Waste Metering General This technique may still be necessary even within a district metering strategy. the search for leakage needs to concentrate upon the reasons for a high night. using district meter information. This will not only prove that the boundary valves shut tight. and the situation monitored until pressures return to normal.7 8.6 Large Area Sub-Division Detection methods should be employed to progressively narrow the search for leakage (‘localisation’) using the most appropriate method to ‘home in’ and finally locate it. but these can be minimised by shutting most of the valves during the day. In such cases additional costs for night-time overtime working will be incurred. where sudden increases in demand occur for no apparent reason. Then. it may be necessary to subdivide it so that each sub-area contains less than about 1000 properties.2 illustrates this exercise. 8. so that each district meter feeds a district area. If leakage is suspected in a large DMA. In operating at night. If the demand gradually builds up in an area and thus matches the number of new properties being built. the water supply is turned off at the meters. A realistic calculation of actual leakage is also necessary for each DMA so that an aggregated ‘bottom up’ assessment of each District can be made.7. If the installation of further meters or valves is necessary. preferably with a data logger. If this corresponds to a new large metered customer being connected to the mains. Figure 8. Regulators of the UK Water Industry now expect such comparisons of leakage as part of leakage assessment. of course.

saving time and money. it will be necessary to test the water tightness of the valve. the valve will require repair or replacement.3 illustrates the principle of step testing. each step of the test should contain about l00 houses in a UK situation. it is no longer necessary to maintain a set pattern or frequency of waste testing.2 Methods of Step Testing There are various procedures for actually performing step tests. represents the MNF in that small section isolated by that valve.7. If it is suspected that a valve is letting by. step tests can now be performed using radio. Figure 8. checks of important water supplies and dialysis patients are necessary before work begins. Step testing is usually carried out at night and thus carries penalties in overtime payments and disruption of work routine. With technological developments. The resultant drop in flow rate monitored at the meter by chart and/or logger. 8. This additional flow should appear at the waste meter if the valve is water tight. 8. This will depend on the size of the area and past experience. and each valve should be sounded after closing to check this. following the closure of a particular valve. provided that Minimum Night Flows (MNF) are being recorded by the district meters. it is necessary to decide on whether a step test should be carried out prior to sounding/correlating. Water is run to waste through the hydrant.8. For best results.7.8 8. 8. it may be necessary to adjust the measured MNF to obtain a figure which is truly representative of the normal leakage level.8.1 Step Testing General If further detection action is decided upon as a result of a night-time increase at the district meter or the waste meter run. but no noise can be heard.3 Effect of Reduction in Pressures If due to the valve closure pressures are significantly reduced during the night period. Since water flow is interrupted. Step testing is the process of successively closing valves to reduce the size of the area being metered. If this is not the case. 8. An undiscovered leak would show a disproportionate drop in flow. and the flow rate is measured. As soon as possible after the step test. Thus the leakage in that section can be separately assessed.7. water supplies are restored. although this will not always indicate valves which are passing. provided that pressures are not significantly reduced. and this normally means that a much smaller part of the area needs subsequent location work.2 Checking of Boundary Valves It is clearly essential that the boundary valves shut tight. In this way it is possible to identify those small sections where the leakage is occurring. but it can be very effective and may be the only option in busy city centre areas if no acoustic loggers are available. This can be done by installing a hydrant flow meter near to the suspect valve and within the valved-in WMA. all of which depend on valves shutting tight: 73 .8.4 Combination with District Metering If waste metering is used in combination with district metering (and this is now much more usual in the UK than waste metering on its own). The location and frequency of the waste tests and step tests will be determined by the district meter readings.

steps larger than the ideal 100 houses will probably be required. The period will be indicated by the pattern of the MNFs previously recorded. However. but previous sounding and correlation had been inconclusive . and may vary with the day of the week.9. Actual time taken will depend on the number of shuts. In the UK. and each test is likely to take a two (or sometimes three) man team 6 hours to carry it out. 8. enabling better targeting of leak location resources. carrying.i) The isolation method. preferably in graphical form.8. a certain ‘conviction’ is required before holes can be confidently dug. as it does.2) has improved this situation. 8. however. thus confirming the water tightness of the valves If all the leakage is accounted for prior to the end of the test.5 Flow Recording Where the Mobile Advanced Step Tester (MAST . and therefore relatively costly in operational expenditure. The back feed method.4) is not used. For large areas. this can be identified and the test completed early. and cannot be repeated.1 Acoustic (Noise) Logging General The localisation procedures of waste metering.3 Night Tests Step testing must normally be carried out at night. and initial sounding surveys are all manpower intensive. with all the interruption and expense that this entails. Often only 3 or 4 hours will be available. Reduced pressures have made remaining leakage more difficult to find. it threatens to reduce existing operational costs. and detection is also becoming more difficult because 74 . They have proved a cost-effective survey tool. In fact. The advantages of this are that: i) ii) Each step can be noted on the graph. or where mains intersections are complex (e.g. ii) iii) 8. Experience needs to be gained.3) which is causing the most excitement. urban crossroads).see section 5. The introduction of the first ‘temporary’ noise loggers (see section 5. the leakage benefit of pressure reduction has already been felt. Their use in clusters has greatly helped to locate leaks in problem areas where it was already known that something was wrong.4 Day Tests Trials of afternoon step testing may be carried out with success in areas where many of the properties are unoccupied during the day.9 8. In many areas. step testing. in the correct interpretation of results from these loggers.8.6. where the area downstream of the closed valves is left without water for the duration of the test. where each time a valve is closed a corresponding valve is opened behind it. 8.in busy built-up areas. the possibility of helping Water Suppliers achieve further leakage reductions without the spiralling operational costs that might have been anticipated. is required. This period may be influenced by electricity tariffs and social habits. The close and open method. in which each valve is only closed for a period long enough for the drop in flow rate to be recorded. This technique may be useful in identifying some steps where leakage is not running. an on-site readout of flow rate. it is the ‘permanent’ device (see section 5. and on the duration of the night period when flows are at a minimum. The number of shuts planned must be tailored to fit within the time available. most of the ‘easy’ leakage has now been detected and repaired.8.6. but positive readings are not able to differentiate between leakage and normal consumption.

with no reliance on subjective. (to be within 50 metres of each logger). Many operational benefits have been confirmed. the loggers could be removed and re-deployed to another area. Furthermore. detect and repair an average leak is still relatively long. The spacing of the loggers will also be dependent on the pipe material. Hence they provide greater flexibility in the development and operation of a distribution system. Where leakage control is the only reason for setting up small DMAs. This means a prescribed leakage level can be easily maintained. thus avoiding wasted time looking for leaks in areas where there are none. leakage reduction efforts can be stopped at any point once an acceptable level has been reached.9. Also. 8. they could be taken back again to assist in the localisation of the new leaks. may also be a factor regarding where they are actually deployed. Management has control over this process. It is obvious that labour-intensive methods cannot continue to deliver ongoing reductions in leakage and cost. the time taken to identify. rather than in a widely dispersed manner 75 . with the obvious savings in water More leaks being found than was thought possible with previous methodologies . it may afford the postponement of some capital schemes for resource enhancement. and skilled detection staff are focussed on finding ‘known’ leaks with a correlator. so by monitoring the night flow into the DMA. The reading of a DMA meter can easily include the monitoring of the loggers within it. so that new leaks are ‘localised’ at exactly the same time as increases in the night flow are noticed. an initial list of leaks will be generated.background noise at night is increasing. This has meant that leakage reductions have started to ‘tail off’ with existing methods. at the minimal extra cost of another patrol. and detection costs are increasing. human interpretation factors. The planning of a patrol route. because the detection time is greatly reduced. This is obviously motivating for the workforce. they enable a move in policy to larger ones. and repair may initially cause the breakout of more leaks that were ‘waiting to happen’. The area to be monitored has to be checked for the availability of fittings and for the presence of loud noise sources on the mains. following substantial field trials. or where it is preferred not to do so.some of these were thought to have been ‘masked’. Once deployed and initially ‘patrolled’. The permanent noise logger offers the potential to reduce the economic level of leakage. with leaks being dealt with in clusters. In ‘stable’ areas where leakage increase is slow. Once installed. once the prescribed level is reached. more than one patrol may be necessary to significantly reduce the leakage level. Because the noisiest leaks may not be the biggest. with consequently reduced setting-up costs. 8. These include: • • • Leaks being localised faster than before. whose proximity is to be avoided.2 Operational Aspects Preparation prior to the installation of these loggers is minimal. the loggers allow more and more leaks to be identified. One person can survey several DMAs in a day. These loggers may be the only solution in areas where it is not possible to set up DMAs. and cause the postponement of some mains renewal schemes in areas where this was seen to be the only remaining solution to reduce leakage. When there is an unacceptable increase in the night flow in the original area.3 Results The ‘permanent’ version of the noise logger was launched in the UK in June 1999.9. by facilitating further savings. or inaudible Increased repair efficiency. and to change the ‘thinking’ about what levels of leakage are ‘tolerable’ and ‘inevitable’.

Such ‘best use’ data will accumulate as experience is gained. 76 . and whether to use some in a rotational way between different areas. and maintained. but it is looking likely that initial capital investments will easily be repaid within the life expectancy of the loggers. in established DMAs A marked reduction in leak detection operating costs The evidence suggests that a new era is dawning for leak detection with this piece of technology. More figures are awaited regarding overall costs. It remains for individual Water Suppliers to decide what coverage to deploy them at.• • ‘Lowest ever’ leakage levels being attained.

THIS METHOD SOMETIMES HAS APPLICATION IN LOCATING LEAKAG E (ESSENTIALLY 2 TEMPORARY ‘WASTE METER AREAS’ ARE FORMED.m.1 Demand Pattern in a Typical Area Peak Demand Legitim ate Water Usage Night Line Leakage flows Continuously Leakage Flows Continuously 6 a.m. Midnight 6 a.m. Noon 6 p.Figure 8.2 Temporary Sub-Division of DMAs to Help Locate Leakage PERMANENTLY CLOSED DMA BOUNDARY VALVES METER M1 A B MAINS METER M2 TEMPORARY CLO SURE AT VA LVES ‘A’ & ‘B ’ TO DI VIDE THE ‘DMA’ INTO 2 PARTS WILL ENABLE ASSESSMENTS O F DEMAND PER PROPERTY IN EACH TO BE MADE.) 77 . Figure 8.


e. and the location of the leak determined. 9. The stop tap is closed and then sounded once more. Those fittings are then sounded again. On the first pass a note is made of those fittings on which a noise is found. If the noise is on a boundary stop tap. it indicates leakage on the consumer’s pipework and a notification of such is made. or in conjunction with it.2 Leak Noise Correlation Leak Noise Correlators measure the time taken for the leak noise to travel from the leak to sensors placed at different points on the mains system. The main disadvantages of both direct and surface soundings are: a) b) c) d) e) It is sometimes difficult to determine the precise position of highest sound intensity. If the noise continues. that is by making direct contact with fittings on the main. the correlator sensors are attached to those fittings noted as producing a noise. Where it is carried out together with sounding. or by listening on the ground surface above the line of the main. In this case surface sounding is carried out to locate the position of the leak more precisely. The position of highest sound intensity does not always coincide with the position of the leak or the fitting nearest the leak. i.1 LEAKAGE LOCATION. The procedure for locating a leak is as follows. Properly used. The advantages of sounding are: a) b) c) The equipment is relatively simple and inexpensive. Correlators can be used to carry out the initial sound survey by attaching the sensors to fittings on the main at suitable intervals and seeing whether a correlation can be found. which is usually more precise than ‘sounding’. or where other underground apparatus is very close. It is possible to detect leakage within the premises when used in conjunction with the turning off of the consumer’s stopcocks. Sounding can be very difficult in areas with high background noise such as that produced by traffic in busy streets. but generally it is less effective and reliable than direct sounding on fittings. boundary stop taps. allowing access via an iron bar. Surface sounding can be successful where there is a hard surface above the main. Automatic correlation by the machine then indicates the position of the leak. it indicates a leak on the communication pipe.9. Successful sounding is dependent upon operator skill. 9. However. it is necessary to ascertain whether this is due to use within the house. Where there are long lengths of main without any access points. a large number of fittings can be inspected fairly rapidly. Sounding can either be done directly. The disadvantages can all be overcome by use of the Leak Noise Correlator. If the noise ceases. It can be particularly unreliable where recent excavations have been made and backfilled with imported material. valves and hydrants. or by boosters and certain fittings such as control valves. holes can be drilled through the ground. Leak noise correlation can be carried out either in place of sounding. or more usually as a means of finally locating a leak previously identified and localised by other methods. or more probably on the main if the noise can be heard on adjacent fittings. and some produce insufficient sound to be detected by any sounding technique. leak noise correlation can identify leakage typically to within a metre of its location. In conditions of low background noise. the more recent ground microphones with probe attachments are a significant improvement. Sounding seeks to identify aurally the point of maximum intensity of the characteristic hissing noise of a pressurised leak. Some leaks are inaudible to the human ear. CONFIRMATION AND REPAIR Sounding Sounding can be used as a detection method in its own right (very labour intensive). 79 .

together with electronic listening devices. and are in direct contact with the water. and the sensitivity of the particular correlator and sensor. This technique requires less manpower than conventional sounding. can be achieved by use of hydrophone sensors. 9. melted snow or frost. and confirmation. However. Reliability. and hence an increase in the maximum distance between the sensors. Adjacent premises with cellars may also provide clues. leakage location can be helped by other signs such as increased growth of vegetation. The combination of the two methods. Using these sensors sounds can be picked up over distances of 1 km or more. This is a helpful check before the expensive commitment of digging a hole! In a verge or field. and water entering gullies or manholes. They must be used by trained and skilled personnel. and leak noise correlators do have a major advantage in busy urban areas in that they are less affected by background noise.The maximum distance between the sensors must be set according to the pipe materials encountered. 80 . wet or damp patches.g. These sensors are fitted to hydrants. Thus. the insertion of a rod or bar may immediately reveal leaking water. their use as a survey tool is declining due to the emergence of noise loggers. location. water is the sound transmission medium rather than the pipe wall. length between sensors etc). and hence additional costs for overtime working are involved.4 Other Practical Points The answers to the following and similar questions may have some bearing on the method chosen to locate the leakage: • • • • Is the leakage likely to be a burst main or several leaking fittings or pipes? Does the area contain industry? Will customers be affected by a valve inspection? Can meters be logged? Can the area be worked in normal working hours or does traffic density and noise necessitate nighttime or weekend working? What are the age and pipe materials in the area? What is the previous burst history? 9. and preferably by people who are using the equipment regularly. or other ‘wet’ fittings. moss on ground or walls. Typical operating distances are as follows: cast iron/ductile iron asbestos cement uPVC medium density polyethylene 600m 220m 150m 100m An improvement in sensitivity. Leak noise correlators continue to be the principal method of leak location. portability and performance of Leak Noise Correlators has continuously improved over recent years and they are now employed as an essential part of a leakage control programme. provides the most efficient and effective means of leak localisation. Later correlator models facilitate the sound survey technique by incorporating a survey mode.5 Confirmation Where correlators locate leakage without previous use of sounding equipment. 9.3 Visual Evidence Apart from the obvious emergence of trickling/running water. in which the machine will search for a correlation without the need for the operator to enter the normal information required for a leak location (e. it would be normal to seek some confirmation by use of a ground microphone. To sound such areas manually usually requires that the work is carried out at night.

it is necessary to ensure that it is quickly and efficiently repaired.3 Repair Records It is essential that all repairs of bursts and leaks are accurately and comprehensively recorded. so it is expected there will be a move from an adversarial style of contract to a more co-operative approach. ‘Partnering’ will be a key word. Employers and Contractors are working together on this. from simple ‘Detection’ to ‘Payment by Results’. 9. If permanent noise loggers are installed. in the vicinity of a large burst). in which case it may take very much longer to get the leak repaired. preferably on a database.6 9.1 Repair.6. These should be adjusted downwards where appropriate. The total leakage volume is directly related to the length of time leaks are left running. There have been limitations from both the Employer’s and the Contractor’s point of view. Many of the leaks will. Work to produce a Model Form of Contract is ongoing. This can be a difficult process.6. of course.g. but is likely to develop. A number of different payment options will be included. and compared to DMA ‘norms’. Follow-Up and Records General Having located leakage. it is good practice to re-sound in the immediate vicinity of the repair to check that the previous leak was not masking other leakage.7 Leakage Contracts The use of Contractors in leakage work is relatively new in the UK. This information should include: • • • • • • • • Location DMA reference Date Size Type of burst Mains/service pipe material Type of repair Was burst reported or detected? 9. Various forms of contract have been tried. particularly in the case of joint supply pipes where questions of responsibility have to be resolved. and further supplemented by additional sections to cover the needs of individual Employers. 81 . be on the consumers’ pipework.6.2 Follow-up After Repair Having repaired the located leaks. Basic sections on Conditions and Technical Specification will be supplemented by specialist sections for different types.9. 9. another ‘patrol’ will reveal this information. Night flows should be immediately checked after repair work. Ingress brings the risk of pollution and hence reinforces the need for prompt repair of all known leaks. Leakage detection activities will only retain their credibility if leaks are repaired quickly. It is sometimes overlooked that leaking pipes and fittings can give rise to water ingress during negative pressure incidents (e.

• Enable a company to standardise on pipes and fittings which have a lower pressure rating. car washing etc • Reduce the frequency of bursts. 82 . Pressure management can be accomplished in a number of ways and not just via the installation of a new pressure reduction valve (PRV). the generation of pressure almost always costs money. They operate by converting fluid pressures into electrical signals.3 Pressure Control Benefits Pressure control can: • Reduce leakage • Reduce pressure-related consumption such as hand-washing. and possibly eliminating certain household plumbing problems. fire fighting installations and fire hydrants Network analysis calibration 10.2 Pressure Control Options Pressure management is a major element in a leakage management strategy. and unnecessarily high pressures raise customers expectations and perceptions of what is adequate.1 PRESSURE MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT Pressure Measurement Pressure is one of the most frequently measured parameters in the Water Industry. and local system alterations. • • Having considered these three options. • Provide a more constant service to customers – large diurnal pressure variations may give customers an impression of a poorly managed service. Even where already practised. or staged or variable speed pumping. The following options should be considered first: • Re-zoning the area supplied to match input head to topography and minimise system losses.g. mechanical pressure control devices. and are therefore cheaper. critical area. so reducing pressure by means of a PRV is intrinsically inefficient. These generally have a higher capital cost and are a potential contamination risk. Matching pump output curves to closely match distribution demands.e. This may include boosting to a smaller. during drought. often being measured alongside flow. it is likely to be worthwhile to re-examine and reset equipment and schemes to take advantage of progressive technical developments. or transferring demand zones to an alternative source with a lower overall head. or closed loop control using flow or pressure signals. reinforcing or reconditioning mains to allow low pressure zones to be extended. but pressure transducers have become the most common means in distribution systems. Its benefits are immediate. On account of this they are no longer used in the UK. • Assist demand management when flow restriction is necessary i. typically PRV’s. 10. industrial consumers. This could include resizing pumps to match known demands. Many methods of measurement are in usage. Pressure reduction is probably the simplest and most immediate way of reducing leakage within the distribution system. Network analysis could greatly facilitate this investigation. Installation of break pressure tanks. provide the next stage in a pressure control strategy.10. In fact. 10. new housing estates. Pressure measurement typically takes place for: • • • • • General monitoring of the distribution system Specific monitoring at critical points (levels of service) Particular consumer problems of inadequate pressure Co-ordination with particular flow tests e. high rise flats. decreasing the possibility of pipework movement and fatigue type failures. at least in the immediate future – subsequent savings in repair costs can exceed those due to reduced leakage • Stabilise pressure.

It is generally recommended that planned preventative maintenance be carried out on a six. Noise through a PRV does create difficulties for leak detection work in the vicinity because of its interference. the surges which cause this type of failure result from valve or pump operations which should be examined to minimise the risk. Usually. the lowering of pressures may cause the boosters to operate more regularly.4 Pressure Reduction Problems Some examples of the problems that can potentially arise. Attention to pipework detail and valve settings can reduce noise levels but it is best avoided by correct selection and siting. and their consequences. leading to excessively high or low pressures. • P o o r P re s s u re In correctly configured systems this is typically a result of restrictions and blockages of individual supplies. perhaps through corrosion. • High-Rise Buildings Ordnance survey data alone is insufficient in planning an area from a topographical point of view – a tall building survey should be undertaken. Some of these can be designed out of the system. Noise is usually associated with small valve openings and may be associated with cavitation problems. the provision of ‘stops’ to limit the travel in mechanical systems can be helpful. Typically this occurs when valves are shut in the course of a routine repair. This may result in failure of the control and actuating mechanism and loss of pressure control.10. • Noise Noise can be a problem close to PRV installations. This situation should be avoided by ensuring that Inspectors. This should be assessed beforehand at the area design stage. Partly closed stop taps and valves are a typical problem. Blockages Blockages can occur as a result of mains material becoming trapped in the PRV.monthly basis. The results of exposing the system to maximum pressures at moderate flows will usually be a series of burst mains. are aware of pressure control systems and follow appropriate procedures before closing critical valves. pressure reduction may only be possible if the Supplier is willing to bear costs of pumping and plumbing modifications. are listed below. with certain valves. Valves without close mechanical tolerances are less susceptible to this type of failure. • P re s s u re a n d F l o w S u r g e s Under certain circumstances surges of pressure and flow can cause unpredictable PRV behaviour. Attention to the maintenance of filters and correct flushing are necessary to avoid blockages in distribution systems which are prone to solids contamination. in particular. In addition. Strainers upstream of the PRV will also help • Va l v e O p e r a t i o n Closing of valves between the PRV and a remote pressure monitoring point will result in the PRV attempting to rectify the apparent loss of pressure at the remote point. in the piston exceeding its travel and jamming in the fully open or closed position. Where small boosters are already feeding multistorey buildings. Network models can also be used to simulate valve closures prior to operation on site to help understand how the system will react. • 83 . Flow and pressure tests at the property affected will reveal the location of the problem which can then be dealt with in the normal way. They may also occur by the setting up of the PRV area severing the normal interlinking of the system. This can result. Poor pressures may also be the result of pipework simply being undersized. In areas where existing flats rely upon a highpressure mains supply.

or who have sprinkler systems requiring pressure in excess of that required.5 Pressure and Leakage Consideration of a basic hydraulic map indicates that the residual pressure at any point in the system depends on: • • • The input hydraulic head of the zone resulting from either: a) the supplying reservoir level in gravity systems.• Specialist Consumers Particular care must be taken in consideration of pressure reduction on the effect on home dialysis units (they may simply be able to be adjusted) and industrial consumers who use processes dependent on existing mains pressures. co-ordinated by the Water Research Centre. • Costs PRVs work best as a single feed to a DMA. the less leakage. This means that the actual benefit achieved from a particular pressure reduction can be considerably greater than predicted. and one that changes with pressure (e. See Figures 10. An appropriate balance must thus be found for sensitive areas.1 illustrates the relationships between these points in the distribution system.g. Theoretically. Figure 10. indicated that. This suggests that intensive leakage detection should be carried out before pressure reduction is implemented. A d d i t i o n a l Active Leakage Detection It should be noted that in the long run. thus negating potential benefit. the effects of pressure were greater than this and approached a linear relationship. smaller pipes generate more frictional head loss). and are used to estimate the potential leakage savings from the introduction of pressure reduction. Time must then be allowed to make the required changes. which attempt to define the relationship between pressure and leakage. Obviously. The Fire Service function will also be affected by pressure reduction. the lower the pressure. 84 . less ‘spare’ pressure exists before consumers complain. The prime reason for leak detection effort in such a case becomes one of responding to low pressure complaints caused by leakage rather than to save water and money directly. The pressure within a DMA (for example) will therefore vary geographically with elevation and pipe configuration (longer. frequency and cost of leak detection. It has understandably been argued that there are two types of leak aperture. but the greater the need. leaks at joints and fittings. Field work undertaken in the UK at the end of the 1970s. in practice. The significance of these two effects will vary with the topography of the area and the DMA. holes and cracks in metal pipes). or b) the pump outlet pressure in pumped systems The difference in level between the source of supply and the point of delivery The frictional losses between the system inlet and outlet There is often confusion between absolute and residual head when discussing pressure. Technical staff can usefully discuss such problems with consumers beforehand and find individual solutions. leaving the conclusion that there is no universal pressure/leakage relationship. this relationship has produced mixed results. leakage is expected to be related to the square root of the pressure at the leakage point.3. The installation of a PRV may therefore incur extra expenditure to convert the area being supplied to a single feed system. Lower pressures also mean leakage is more difficult to actually detect because the noise of escaping water is less intense. the variability of demand. one that keeps its size (e. and the size and condition of the mains. It will also vary with demand as higher flows and velocities also result in higher pressure losses. each unique system having its own. and possibly in some plastic pipes). • 10.2 and 10.g. However. otherwise leakage which could be found could instead be rendered undetectable (or more costly to find). .

Another reason for greater than expected leakage at higher pressures may be due to a change in the effect of the surrounding backfill material. Clearly, more research work is needed to better understand the pressure/leakage relationship. It should also be noted that pressure is generally at a maximum overnight, when flow and friction losses are at a minimum. It follows therefore that proportionally more leakage reduction will occur at night when pressure control is implemented. It is for this reason that the previously mentioned ‘20 hour rule’ is used, whereby measured savings per hour at night should only be multiplied by 20, not 24 to derive a daily total.


Statutory Requirements and Levels of Service
In the UK, under the terms of the Water Industry Act 1991, it is the duty of a Water Supplier to ‘cause the water in its mains and other pipes to be laid on constantly, and at such a pressure as will cause the water to reach the top of the topmost storey of every building within the Supplier’s area’. This specifically refers to: i) ii) Supplies of water for domestic purposes Mains which have hydrants fixed to them

The Water Supplier’s duty however is limited to supplying water to a height no greater than that to which it will flow by gravity from the service reservoir or tank, and the Supplier is free to select which reservoir or tank is used. If any house requires water to be delivered at a height greater than l0.5m below the draw-off level of the reservoir, the Supplier may require the installation of a cistern capable of holding up to 24 hrs storage. The above requirements mean that, in the UK, a Water Supplier does not legally have to supply water to every building regardless of elevation. He would normally do so, however, but would re-charge for all necessary expenditure in these exceptional circumstances. A reference level of service (LoS) has to be provided of 10 metres head, at the customer’s boundary, at a flow of 9 litres/minute for a single property, measured on the customers side of any metre, boundary box or other fitting. Checking compliance against this standard could require excavation etc. and is clearly impractical for widespread compliance testing. Many UK Suppliers have therefore adopted a surrogate pressure reference. This is the pressure in an adjacent distribution system i.e. the nearest hydrant which can be shown statistically to deliver 9 litres/minute without the pressure falling below 10m at the stop tap. The actual surrogate pressure used varies between Suppliers, but whatever the target minimum is, it needs to be available at the critical point in the area, and should allow for future increases in demand, and deterioration of the network.


Identification of Areas for Pressure Reduction
General Before schemes for pressure are implemented, it is important to collect and keep data on uncontrolled networks. Without this data it will not be possible to appraise completed schemes, and it will then be more difficult to design and justify future projects. Pressure data over a seven-day period is needed preferably in graphical and digital form. Actual pressures occurring in a potential PRV area should be determined by deploying temporary pressure loggers. Pressure loggers should be sited at critical points within DMA areas which are often but not always at the highest point AOD. The peak and minimum flows should be determined.


25 metres head is commonly considered in the UK as a normal desirable maximum at the target point. However, practical and physical requirements, for example topographical features, may dictate that pressures as high as 75m must be tolerated at some properties. Mains pressure reduction should be investigated for areas where night time pressure can be reduced by at least l0m. Where local pressures exceed 75m and cannot be reduced, then pressure management should be considered for individual properties or sub-groups of properties. Use should be made of available network analysis models and information to assist in the identification, planning and design of prospective areas for proposed pressure reduction. These will normally be where the pressure always exceeds 30m at the critical point in the DMA at maximum demand. Account must be taken of the most sensitive customer location and the stability of the PRV likely to be installed at low flows. Peak week and seasonal demands also need to be allowed for. It should be remembered also that some areas do contract in demand as industry and population move location. Other ‘signposts’ which may indicate areas worthy of further investigation are: • • • • • • • 10.7.2 Areas suffering from pressure bursts or high pressure complaints Reservoir outlets, even though the scope may be limited Uncontrolled branches on trunk mains Multi-feed areas with some or all feeds not pressure controlled Areas requiring high day pressure but low night pressure, for which flow modulation may be the most appropriate New developments/extensions to existing system Local knowledge.

Existing Pressure Reduced Areas If local pressure management already exists, it is possible that the application of latest generation equipment can optimise savings. Such applications range from the complete replacement of an existing PRV to the addition of retrofit devices to enhance performance. For example, replacing conventional fixed outlet PRVs with flow modulated equipment presents the opportunity to optimise district pressures across changing demand profiles. As the following illustration shows, pressure profiles can be achieved which reduce pressures for most of a typical day, but allow increased pressure at peak demand.

LOS at target consumer Level of Service (LOS) (m) Local peak demand period

Flow modulated PRV











11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Time Hours


20 21 22 23 MNT


Results of replacing a conventional PRV with a flow modulated PRV This example is taken from an actual installation. Benefits are twofold. Average daily metered throughput to the district decreased by 20%, and pressures at the target point were improved at peak demand. Result: rapid payback of investment, reduction in leakage, reduced incidence of burst mains and reduced customer complaints. It is worth noting that existing pressure management installations may well be lacking in maintenance which can impair and even nullify their performance. Items which require regular checks, and, if necessary, corresponding alterations in PRV settings are: • • • • Status of boundary valves Extensions at margins of PRV area, i.e. additional properties/roads/streets, above design setting. Additions/changes to consumption profile within defined area, i.e. new housing site or changing industrial consumption. Regular checks on PRV inlet/outlet settings to confirm profile against design settings.


Pressure Reducing Valves - General Overview
A pressure reducing valve (PRV) can be defined as a mechanical device which will give a reduced outlet (downstream) pressure for a range of flow rates and upstream pressures. All PRVs have certain features in common. These are a means of controlling the flow (the valve), a means of sensing the pressure differential between the inlet and the outlet, and a means of actuating the valve. A variety of more or less sophisticated means of providing these features have been developed by manufacturers. The two principal categories of PRV are fixed outlet and flow-modulated, each with several variations. Generally, fixed outlet characteristics maintain approximately the same value of downstream pressure over a range of flowrates. The pressure has to be set so that level of service (LOS) pressure is maintained at the target point for the maximum design flowrate. The resultant average zone night pressure (AZNP) will be at a higher value than a flow modulated pressure in a similar system since in the latter case pressures can be optimised for minimum demand. In reality, some fixed outlet valves are not always capable of maintaining a constant outlet pressure, particularly at low flow when some rise in outlet pressure can be experienced. A ‘pilot’ can assist in providing the necessary variable throttling effect to keep a constant outlet pressure as inlet pressures and flows vary. Two pilots with a timed changeover can give a ‘day’ and ‘night’ setting of outlet pressure. Flow-modulated PRV’s vary the outlet pressure in such a manner that a constant head can be maintained at a target point in the distribution system for a range of flow rates and inlet pressures. The activating mechanism responsible for regulating the outlet pressure may be mechanical or electronic, or a combination of both. ‘Look-up’ tables or telemetry may be involved in the outlet pressure control. Figures 10.4 and 10.5 demonstrate the effect of the two basic types of valve on a critical point in the downstream distribution system. Generally speaking, where head losses across the target area exceed l0m (night time/no flow pressure minus day-time peak flow pressure) flow-modulated devices will provide greater net benefit (in spite of the extra cost), and are to be preferred. Because of advances in control practice and communications, control systems for PRVs are becoming more complex and more effective. The valves are now fitted primarily to reduce leakage and to some extent pressure dependent consumption, rather than the traditional reason of protecting the downstream infrastructure. It should be noted that in some cases where old mains systems are combined with high pressures, leakage reductions cannot be maintained until pressure is reduced, because the effect of


repairing a burst is to increase the pressure in the system, possibly causing further bursts. The effectiveness and accuracy of the PRV’s will normally increase as the control system becomes more sophisticated. More sophisticated control systems are also better able to respond to unexpected demands. PRV technology is still developing, and whilst the most common method of control is still local hydraulic operation, controlled operation by intelligent process units is becoming more economic, even for smaller areas. These units do not necessarily need pre-designed pressure profiles to follow, but will ‘learn’ one insitu from the real, dynamic network they are operating, always assuming they are in contact with signals from the critical pressure point(s).


Reduce pressure in the valley bottom (point A) to reduce leakage.Figure 10. Pressure at point B must satisfy Level of Service criteria.D NOTES 1. 2.1 Hydraulic Gradient RESERVOIR P GRA DIE NT HYD RAU LIC Pmax GROUND LEVEL P P B C A DATUM POINT . 3. fittings etc.A. Distribution pressures will be less than Pmax (at lowest ground level) due to frictional losses in mains. 4. Mains at point C will need boosting.O. 89 .

2 Leakage Increase with Pressure 0 20 40 90 60 PRESSURE (m) 80 100 .Figure 10.

3 Relationship between Leakage and Pressure 100 90 80 70 60 LEAKAGE INDEX 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 20 40 60 80 AVERAGE ZONE NIGHT PRESSURE (m) 100 91 .Figure 10.

5 Pressure Gradient to Critical Point Gradient at minimum flow (fixed outlet PRV) Gradien t at minim um flow (all PRV’s) Head AOD At PRV outlet Excess level of service Level of service Gradient at minimum flow (flow modulated PRV’s) Ground Level Ordnance Datum Critical head AOD Ground Level Distance from PRV 92 .Figure 10.4 Diurnal Pressure Variation at Critical Point No PRV fitted Fixed outlet PRV Flow modulated 12 14 16 18 20 22 MNT 2 4 6 TIME (24hrs) 8 10 12 Figure 10.

and not unduly over-abstracting water from the environment. However. a level of leakage which provides the most economic mix of leakage related costs. and can provide clear information upon which sound management decisions may be based. and the Supplier can then set targets for leakage control in conjunction with other corporate policies on customer metering. Once the economic optimum level is known.e. leakage levels will rise to levels where the cost of the water lost predominates.11. it may not be economic to reduce leakage. They will also be less likely to have unrealistic or uneconomic targets imposed on them from outside. environmental and political factors which dictate the target leakage level. and the benefits which are expected to accrue. it is not possible to generalise to provide standardised formulae for setting leakage targets. This has given rise to a broader concept of ‘the most appropriate leakage target’. areas with expensive water or the most urbanised areas. areas with excess pressure. The setting of economic targets. Conversely. To do so they will need to appraise the investment required for these various different supply and demand management solutions. Thus there is a need to examine each system to determine the most appropriate method of leakage control and to plan the required capital investment. This means that leakage reduction should be pursued to the point where the long run marginal cost of leakage control is equal to the long run marginal benefit of the water saved. mains rehabilitation. over a long term planning horizon. and must be able to cost justify their level of leakage and works designed to manage leakage. The ELL is not fixed for all time. Due to the complexity of the issues. it is recognised that there may be social. any Supplier who is prepared to commit resources to collecting the required data. Leakage is often seen as synonymous with waste. including an assessment of the environmental benefits. will develop a greater understanding of the factors which are important to target setting. unless the water can be sold to other Suppliers. it is likely to be uneconomical to set the same target leakage levels for areas of differing characteristics. which will vary over time. or the economic consequences. the cost of detecting and repairing leaks will fall as new technology is introduced. Water Suppliers must therefore strike a balance between the cost of reducing leakage and the value of the water saved. or fall into the trap of setting leakage targets themselves without full consideration of the practicalities of achieving them. Water lost through leakage has a value and so reducing the level of leakage offers benefits. and reducing leakage is seen as a means of saving money. There are many possible ways of setting a leakage target. manpower and revenue resource. The level of leakage at which it would cost more to make further reductions than to produce the water from another source is what is known as the economic level of leakage (ELL). Conversely. particularly to their customers who want to see their costs minimised. provides the least cost combination of demand management and resource development. as well as economic ones related to the Suppliers’ own operating environment. The latter depends on the long run marginal costs of augmenting supplies by alternative means. is independent of variations in physical factors such as property density. being described as “that level of leakage which. Even if the same leakage policy is pursued. when little effort is expended on active leakage control. This will cause the ELL to fall. It depends on a wide range of factors. These can include targets based on minimum night flows. and to carry out the analysis and appraisals. 11.1 THE ECONOMICS OF LEAKAGE MANAGEMENT Introduction Water Suppliers must be seen to be operating efficiently and effectively. i. pressure. However. whilst adequately providing a low risk of security of supply to customers. this can be compared to the present level of leakage. eliminating leakage completely is impracticable and the cost of reducing it to low levels may exceed the cost of producing the water saved. resource development and pressure control. if total demand falls to a point where there is a large surplus of water. Operating at economic levels of leakage means that the total cost to the customer of supplying water is minimised. and Suppliers are operating efficiently. For example. etc. However.” 93 .

11.2. The cost to the Supplier of control and repair will be different.B. since they need ‘re-configuring’ for the local cost environment . detection and location. A unit cost of repair. The critical aspects are consistency between areas for comparative purposes and an understanding of the accuracy of measurement. but both these elements need to be considered. An investment appraisal is necessary. communication pipes and supply pipes. Economically. the potential savings and other benefits of moving to a different level of leakage. The frequent monitoring of all costs. including overheads.2. They should not be used in a ‘literal’ way. including on-costs and overhead allowances. Operating at any other combination will be more expensive. therefore. Costs for these activities should be made up of appropriate staff costs. but nevertheless demonstrate the principles and progression needed for informed. Repair costs are largely driven by the rate at which bursts occur. and the cost of the measures proposed to effect the change.N. Operating a water supply area at the optimum will result in a mix of costs for leakage control and the value of lost water that gives the lowest possible cost. cost-related decisions. 11. Repair costs on supply pipes may be recovered from the customer. and the technology employed. They will be similar for any approach to leakage control and therefore do not need to be considered in a calculation of the optimum level of leakage.1 Policy Development Through An Economic Approach Economic Target The economic target is considered to be that level of leakage that provides the lowest overall annual cost. The Tables and Figures in this section are only illustrative of the sort of procedures.3 The Optimum Level of Leakage The optimum level of leakage may be defined as that level of leakage where the marginal cost of active leakage control (ALC) equals the marginal cost of the leaking water. In other words where the cost of reducing leakage by one m3of water equals the value of that m3 of water. Costs should not include other distribution activities such as levels of service requirements and water quality related work. to examine the costs of operating the water supply system with the present level of leakage.2 11. 11. 94 . The cost of active leakage control is made up of costs associated with leakage monitoring. The cost of water lost will include both those elements of losses that occur on the distribution system and that from customers’ supply pipes. As before.2. preferably for the water supply zone. it is necessary to use total losses in the water supply zone. but to enable comparisons to be made between water supply zones. a precise definition is not necessary.2 Assessment of Current Leakage Level and Leakage Control Costs The precise nature of the method used to identify the level of leakage in the water supply zone is of secondary importance. They are themselves now out of date for the UK. a consistent approach is essential. depending where leakage occurs. data gathering and analysis that a Water Supplier needs to give attention to in order to move towards optimum economic efficiency in leakage control. should be developed for repairs on mains. is an essential factor in assessing real progress as the implementation of the leakage detection and control policy proceeds. depending on current policy. Repair costs are not directly required for an economic evaluation but are used to calculate the cost of reducing leakage when changing leakage control policy.

This base. On the first graph. given an assessment of the intrinsic leakage level. Total and marginal cost follow the curves shown in Figure 1 where the costs increase in some exponential form as the level of leakage is reduced.1. Having collected data on the cost of water and the cost of active leakage control for a level of leakage. therefore. from a Passive leakage control curve like that illustrated by Figure 11.00/property/year. at an unspecified pressure. Additionally. At the other extreme.There is not one global optimum level of leakage. The optimum level of leakage and the optimum spend on leakage control can be defined through an intensification of the current method of control. it is possible to prepare graphs as presented in Figure 11. The difficulty in calculating the actual or marginal cost of leakage control is that only one point is known. which is illustrative only). Measurement of the current leakage level and cost will give sufficient information to use the following equation. A possible approach is to assume that in any water supply zone. levels of leakage could range between two extremes: • A base level of leakage where all bursts are repaired.. and 24 hour supply. of reducing leakage by one more cubic metre.4 Calculation of Optimum Level of Leakage The marginal cost of leakage control is. and the cost of active leakage control is £2. one cubic metre. which is also based upon UK data. or intrinsic level. The marginal cost of water is fixed by the most expensive source of water and is the cost that would be saved by reducing the water supplied by. The optimum level of leakage in any scenario is where the two marginal costs are equal. at a given level of leakage. for example.2. Before any economic optimum can be derived. then the marginal cost of the active leakage control is 50 pence/m3/property at that level of leakage. then if the cost increases to £2. the additional cost required to reduce leakage levels in an area by one unit. and is taken from the UKWIR ‘Managing Leakage’ Reports: 95 . This is the passive level of leakage and can be obtained.1. such as telemetered district metering. Conversely where leakage activities (and costs) increase the level of leakage will reduce.) • Between these two extremes is the actual level of leakage and the cost of ALC in the water supply area. in any one global water supply zone there will be different optimum levels depending on the method of active leakage control and the efficiency with which the method is implemented. since it based on UK data from the late 1970s. can be approximated to by measuring the level attained following an intensive programme of detection and repair in a specific area. communication pipes or supplies. if the leakage level in an area is 40m3/property/year. and the only leaks running are those which cannot be detected by the current method of active leakage control. (This Figure should be taken as illustrative only. An equation can be produced based on the two extremes and the actual data point. Each water supply zone will have its own optimum level depending on the cost of water. Methods with lower operating costs. operating pressure. For example. namely the current operating conditions.2. the curves show that as leakage increases the value of water lost increases and the effort spent on ALC is small. the level of leakage would be that controlled by customer-reported bursts. a method to estimate costs away from the current level must be established. which typifies this curve. the age and condition of the mains network and the location of bursts whether on the mains. The concept of an optimum level of leakage can be presented graphically in terms of costs against level of leakage (see Figure 11. 11. The marginal cost of active leakage control is the cost. Adding these two curves identifies a minimum point of expenditure which is referred to as the optimum level of leakage. to give a form of ALC cost curve as illustrated in Figure 11. will generate a lower optimum level than more intensive methods such as regular sounding. The second graph shows the same curves in terms of their marginal costs. the cost of labour.50 to reduce leakage to 39m3/property/year. if no money were spent on ALC.3.

an increasing number of background leaks will be found and include in the repairs. £/prop/yr base level of leakage. staff training. zone configuration and staff training Power and chemicals (pumping and treatment) Once any new policy is implemented it will take a period of time before its operation settles down. Data collection and recording systems should be established for each water supply zone covering the following information: • • • • • • Man hours spent on active leakage control.2. and hence calculate the optimum level of control activity. m3/prop/yr Once a graph has been drawn. communication pipes and supply pipes. £/prop/yr actual level of leakage for the area. 96 . Cost of new equipment installation.Lb)) Where d is a constant.Total cost of leakage control = C = (-1/d) 1n ((L .Lb)) The other terms are as follows: L C La Ca Lb Lp = = = = = = level of leakage. can only be confirmed when the new policy is implemented. It is equally possible to conduct similar studies to investigate the effect of pressure control or changing to a new method of active leakage control if there is a need to reduce leakage further. The timing of any new operational stability will be dependent on the completion of the repairs to the backlog of leaks. overall repair costs will return to the level that existed before. m3/prop/yr passive level of leakage. and = (-1/Ca) 1n ((La . then once this ‘backlog’ of leak repairs has been made. This will investigate whether the theoretical optimum has been achieved in reality and may provide valuable information for future leakage policy development. 11. This ‘one-off’ cost of repairs should be included in any project appraisal study. The calculation of the above optimum level assumes that the method of active leakage control and system pressure is held constant. The marginal cost of active leakage control. it is recommended that an economic optimum level of leakage review should be conducted at this time (or annually. To move to the optimum level of leakage will require a one-off additional expenditure on burst repairs. at any level of leakage. For each water supply zone subject to a change of policy. Performance should be monitored through a programme of robust data collection. corresponding to any given level of resource input.Lb)/(Lp . lower level of burst occurrence. In each case there will be a series of one off costs to establish the new approach. including installation of PRV’s or district meters. district reconfiguration and backlog of repairs. m3/prop/yr cost of leakage control. it is possible to estimate the level of leakage.Lb)/(Lp . but it is likely that by intensifying the method of active leakage control. whichever is the shorter time). m3/prop/yr actual cost of leakage control for the area. The assessment of the optimum level of leakage then will reflect the cost of water and the new shape of the relationship between the cost of active leakage control and the leakage level. This process will establish the optimum economic level of leakage for the chosen control method. The possible exception to this is that pressure reduction could produce a new.5 Implementation and Performance Monitoring The final element in developing a new leakage control strategy is implementation and performance monitoring. broken down between detection. location and equipment maintenance Level of leakage Information on bursts Repair costs and frequencies on mains. Assuming that burst occurrences remain constant over time. Costs associated with burst repairs will remain constant for any area in steady state conditions.

3 11. Having determined the sources to be reduced. A reduction in leakage equivalent to one year’s growth will enable all these costs to be deferred by one year. Usually the reduction will be made in the most expensive source. insofar as leakage is concerned. and certainly requires persistence and discipline to achieve and keep up to date the level of information required. The normal requirement is to calculate the value of water likely to be saved by improved leakage control.3. is the marginal cost of pumping (source. but the extent to which this is possible will depend on the particular supply and distribution system configuration. and then divided by the value of one year’s growth to produce the unit capital cost. source works. the unit operating cost can be calculated as follows:Unit Operating Cost Unit Pumping Cost Unit Treatment Cost Unit Purchase Cost for bulk supplies = + /// This operating cost does not include any allowance for the following: • • • Other source operation costs. The last unit of leakage is likely to be more expensive than the first as in general it will be supplied by the most expensive source. costs are converted to an annual unit cost. Nonetheless.some of these are flow related Damage payments made by the Water Supplier as a result of leakage Costs of dealing with leakage related customer complaints It may be considered reasonable to add 5 to 10% for these elements. 97 .1 The Unit Cost of Leakage General The unit cost of leakage is made up of two principal factors – operating cost and capital cost. good project management demands good post-project appraisal if the right conclusions are to be reached for future planning. the unit cost. 11. 11. and all other costs associated with the determination of leakage control policies.It will be evident from the above that performance monitoring in itself carries its own costs. 11. are calculated as an annual unit cost. Whilst not relevant in every case. Thus it is necessary firstly to estimate the likely extent of the savings so that for a given system those supplies and sources whose output will be reduced in the event of a reduction in leakage can be identified. and any distribution) and treatment. These costs are discounted to produce a total current cost equivalent. In order to most easily compare the costs of the various leakage control methods available. If the operating cost.3. including wages .3 Unit Capital Cost The capital cost element is determined by estimating the cost of future capital works required to satisfy growth in demand. Thus the net present value of one year’s deferment of capital costs is multiplied by the discount rate to convert it to an annual equivalent. it simplifies subsequent cost comparisons.3. such a deferment would be a major element in arguing the case for more leakage control development. or in the case of bulk purchases.2 Unit Operating Cost The unit operating cost.

m3/day In addition to the capital cost.2 now requires amendment anyway. Where passive control is currently exercised. use of Figure 11. Water Suppliers (or national groupings) need their own local. Lower levels of leakage are also attainable now because of the improved sensitivity achieved by modern meters and loggers.2. There is less distinction now between the various methods of metering. Alternatively. as previously explained. given the present economic climate in the UK. is likely to have a significant effect. The average burst rate will also provide a clue to the correct level. Permanent acoustic logging is another new dimension.2 is straightforward. Clearly. In such cases some judgement is required in assessing the true intrinsic leakage level. 11.4. reliable data to compile a similar graph for their own situation. the value of deferral for one year might be considered to sensibly be 5% of the capital value divided by the first year forecast growth in demand. the intrinsic level of any area will also depend on the physical characteristics of the system and on the average system pressure.1 Cost of Leakage Detection General Having determined the unit cost of the water.) Figure 11. the intrinsic level will be high. or frequency of existing control. LNCs are used much more now. £ r = discount rate d = yearly growth in demand.2 Leakage Estimates Associated with Detection Methods It is possible to estimate the resulting level of leakage applicable to each detection method in a simple way by the use of a graph like Figure 11.4. 98 . and are much improved. Technological advances mean that Figure 11. as these costs will also be deferred if schemes are put back in the programme. The average net night flow for the system is measured and a horizontal line is drawn on the graph at this flow.4 11. a vertical line is drawn. it is also of course necessary to calculate how much of it can be saved and how much it will cost to do so.4 illustrates the way in which reduction in leakage achieves deferment of capital expenditure. At the point where this line crosses the passive control line. if the system consists predominantly of old unlined iron mains in aggressive soil conditions. (In simplified terms. it is also necessary to include fixed operating costs when calculating the total capital cost (TDCC). 11. These factors depend upon the method of leakage detection employed and the frequency at which it is employed. which is based on experimental data gathered from across the UK in the late 1970s. and in practice a more modern and sensitive version of District Metering is normally employed. the level of activity. The intersection of this vertical line with the lines representing the other methods of control gives the net night flow applicable to each of those methods. If some form of active control is being carried out. If much of the system is relatively new and ground conditions are nonaggressive then the intrinsic level will be low.The formula is: Unit Capital Cost = (TDCC x r2) ÷ [(l + r) x 365 x d] In £/m3 Where TDCC = Total discounted capital cost.

this takes account of the lower pressure. the frequencies adopted will have an impact on the net night flow achieved.2 shows typical UK costs for these three elements. which will include manpower costs. estimated in the UK at 21/property/hr: Annual Cost (£ per prop) = (leakage x 20 x 365 x C) /100.6. and hence reduced leakage.3 details the component parts of the annual costs in terms of man-hours per task. 11. This is done by converting the initial costs to annual costs by multiplying by the chosen discount rate.2 are not related to pressure.5. In this case the additional saving in leakage is shown hatched and is equal to half the previous saving.4 shows typical total annual costs calculated for each method based on the data in the previous tables. Table 11.3 Annual Cost of Leakage Estimates Having determined the likely net night flow for a leakage control method. maintenance.1 have been assumed. In the compilation of Table 11.5 Annual Cost of Detection Methods These costs will comprise of three elements.thus a medium burst rate and high average system pressure will give rise to relatively high intrinsic leakage levels It should be again emphasised that the figures in Figure 11. the law of diminishing returns will apply. 11. depend on the frequency with which the various leakage control tasks are carried out. the recommended frequencies of Table 11. as noted above. and then adding the annual operating cost. and could be misleading if they are not carefully considered in the light of the ‘local’ conditions and more modern technology.4. Recommended frequencies from UK research in 1980 are reproduced in Table 11. and must be taken into account The average system pressure will affect the intrinsic leakage level . The annual operating cost will.1. the annual cost of leakage for each can be calculated as follows bearing in mind that net night flow on the graph includes legitimate domestic use. Having determined the costs of the above components. Clearly. As previously mentioned.000 Where leakage is in 1/prop/hr and C is the unit annual cost of leakage in pence/m3 Note that a factor of 20 is used to convert from a night flow to a daily average figure.5 and 11. and assuming a discount rate of 5%.It must also be noted that: Unusual weather conditions may affect the burst rate. 99 . it is necessary to calculate the total annual cost of each method.4 Frequency of Detection Activity Leakage estimates and annual costs of methods will be dependent on the frequencies of detection activities.4. However. which normally applies during the day. 11. The volume of water saved is shown by the shaded portion of the graph in Figure 11. which include purchase of equipment and installation of meters The initial cost of applying the chosen method throughout the system The annual operating cost. and this can be conveniently illustrated by Figures 11.2.4. Table 11. and replacement of equipment Table 11. namely: (a) (b) (c) Initial setting up costs. and also on the required maintenance frequencies. A doubling of the detection frequency does not double the leakage saved. as noted.

and so open to interpretation and influence by the local ‘political’ environment. based on the 1980 UK research. that they are not explored in this section. the rate at which leaks occur will not be affected by the chosen method. 11. and an average figure.2 The annual detection costs are based on the recommended frequencies in Table 11. the difference between the various methods of active control is likely to be small and can be ignored. The assumptions made in performing the calculations mean that differences in total leakage cost of less than 10% are not significant. and therefore the cost of repairs can be ignored when comparing methods.5 Typical Total Leakage Costs Typical total leakage costs for each of the methods are shown in Table 11. In moving from the current leakage level to a reduced level. In compiling this table the following assumptions were made:• • • The intrinsic leakage level is ‘medium’ as defined in Figure 11. has been included in Table 11. Thus once the method has been fully implemented and the corresponding leakage level established. 100 . The major difference is between passive and active control. it is clear that passive control is only economic at low unit leakage costs or where intrinsic leakage levels are low.2 as part of the initial costs.1 The figures in Table 11. however. for a given distribution system. They may.6 Environmental and Social Costs These costs are so specific to individual situations. However. Whilst the cost of repairing this backlog will vary according to both the starting leakage level and the control method being considered. however. have a significant bearing on a leakage level target.4. the number of repairs required will be the same for each method.5 are indicative only.6 Annual Cost of Repairing Leaks The cost of repairing leaks is not included in the annual operating cost calculation for choice of methods because. Thus the choice between two methods with cost differences of less than 10% must be based on other factors.2 Initial costs of each method are as shown in Table 11. it will be necessary to locate and repair an increased number of leaks.11. 11.5.

Inspection 1 1. 4.1 Recommended Frequencies of Leakage Control Activities Recommended Frequency (No/Year) Regular sounding Leak Noise Correlation District Metering .25 12 to 50 1.75 to 3 Footnotes to Table 11. 101 .5 2 to 6 1. 3. and the inspection frequency is 1. 2. Inspection will normally consist of a step test followed by inspection of between 45% and 65% of the area.Inspection 4 1. if for example. then 150 WMAs should be inspected per year. District meter reading rates have been adjusted to reflect some improvements in technology. Thus.5 to 2 1 to 4 12 to 50 0.Read meters .Inspection .Read district meters .Monitoring .5.1 1. Inspection frequencies given for combined metering include recording MNFs using waste meters and subsequent step tests and sounding as per note 3.Inspection 25 2. Inspection frequencies given for waste metering include the use of step tests.5 to 2 Waste Metering a) Areas up to 1500 props b) Areas over 1500 props .75 to 3 Combined District and Waste Metering . The areas to be inspected will be determined by meter readings.25 to 2 3 to 12 1.5 5 2. a Water Supplier has 100 WMAs.Table 11.Monitoring . Recommended frequencies are generally taken from UK research except as noted below.5 25 1 Acceptable Range (No/Year) 0.

8 102 .400 1.3 85 170 1.100 850 85 45-140 90-220 750-2.Record MNFs of waste areas .3 NIL 750-2.200 550-1.8-2.Table 11.1.8 Leak Noise Correlation .3 750-2.000 3.2 Typical Component Costs for Leakage Control ACTIVITY MEAN COST £ 4.200 550-1.Inspect whole District . 1.400 45-140 Combined District and Waste Metering .400 45-140 1.000 5.200 550-1.Repair backlog of leaks District Metering .000 properties) 85 170 1.Read and record meter readings Inspect District Repair backlog of leaks Read and record meter readings .000 3.200 550.8 Waste Metering (WMA size) (assumed to be) (2.8-2.000 2.700 550-1.000 Properties Passive Regular sounding .Read and record district meters .400 1.100 850 85 2.Repair backlog of leaks .000-15.8-2.000-9.8-2.Perform Step Tests .Repair backlog of leaks NIL 1.000 b) Initial Cost of Applying the Chosen Method Per 1.Record MNF Perform Step Test Inspect WMA Repair backlog of leaks Record MNF (DMA size) (assumed to be) (4.000 a) Initial Setting-Up Costs Install PRV and set up pressure reduced area Install District meters and set up DMA (ave.000 properties) 1.000 12.6 meters per DMA) Install Waste Meter Purchase Leak Noise Correlator 5.500 TYPICAL RANGE OF COSTS £ 3.3 1.8 45-140 90-220 750-2.Inspect properties .500-10.100 850 800 850 2.Read and record district meters 2.400 550-1.Inspect properties .000-5.100 850 2.Record MNFs of Waste areas .

103 .80 per hour.000 35-75 45-75 110-170 250-500 1.100 Leak Noise Correlation Operation Maintenance of Equipment District Metering Monitoring Inspection Maintenance of meters Record MNFs Perform Step Tests Inspection Maintenance of meters Monitoring Record MNFs Perform Step Tests Inspection Maintenance of meters 850-2. inclusive of fuel. Vehicle rate assumed at £3.500 4-19 55 1. Setting up of DMAs assumed to take 30 man hours.60 per hour. Labour rate assumed at £18.000 55-110 Waste Metering Combined Metering Footnotes to Table 11.200 1.400 75 45-75 750-2.2 1.700-5. 4. 3.ACTIVITY MEAN COST £ TYPICAL RANGE OF COSTS £ c) Annual Operating Costs (per 1.200 28-55 230-700 250-500 1. Assumed to be 1.200 1.200 9 280-2. inclusive of overheads.000 properties) based on recomm’d frequencies in Table 11. 2.100 35 420 370 2. 6. Initial costs do not include design.400 55 55 190 370 2. Setting up of PRV areas assumed to take 40 man hours.6 meters per DMA 5.1 Passive Regular soundi ng 430 750-2.700-5.

Table 11.3

Typical Resource Requirements for the Regular Operating Components of Leakage Control
Resource Requirement 20 man hours per 1000 properties 50 man hours 40 man hours 4 man hours 8 man hours

Activity Locate reported leaks when operating passive control. Sound 1000 houses, including locating detected leaks. Carry out leakage survey of 1000 houses with leak noise correlator. Locate leak using leak noise correlator. Record the minimum night flow in a WMA using a fixed meter. Record the minimum night flow in a WMA using a mobile meter. Perform a step test. Meter maintenance

10 man hours 12 man hours 3 man hours per annum per meter + materials at say £40 per meter 8 man hours per annum per PRV + materials at say £50 per PRV

PRV maintenance

Footnotes to Table 11.3 1. 2. 3. Figures for locating leaks with passive control or sounding are average figures based on UK research in 1980. Figures quoted are actual man hours to carry out the activity, no allowance having been made for overtime. Reading district meter includes manual recording of total flow and previous seven MNFs.


Table 11.4

Typical Annual Costs per Property of Different Methods of Leakage Control
INITIAL COST (£/prop) ANNUAL COST (£/prop/year) TOTAL ANNUAL COST (£/prop/year) 0.43 1.2 1.31 1.35 3.43 3.3


Passive Regular Sounding Leak Noise Correlation District Metering Waste Metering Combined District and Waste Metering

NIL 1.95 1.95 3.2 3.79 4.29

0.43 1.1 1.21 1.19 3.25 3.09

Footnotes to Table 11.4 1. 2. 3. 4. A discount rate of 5% has been assumed. Costs quoted are based on the mean costs given in Table 11.2. For calculating initial set up costs for leak noise correlation, it has been assumed that one correlator will be required for every 40,000 properties. Assumed that some district meters are also used as waste meters when considering combined metering. Thus, allowance made for one waste meter for every 4,000 properties in addition to the 1.6 district meters per 4,000 properties.

Table 11.5

Typical Total Annual Costs of Leakage and Leakage Control (£ / prop / year)
LEAKAGE CONTROL METHOD 2 3.12 2.66 2.77 2.52 4.31 4.18 UNIT COST OF LEAKAGE (p/m3) 4 5.8 4.12 4.23 3.69 5.18 5.05 6 8.49 5.58 5.69 4.85 6.06 5.93 8 11.18 7.04 7.15 6.02 6.93 6.8 10 13.9 8.5 8.61 7.19 7.81 7.68 12 16.6 9.96 10.1 8.36 8.69 8.56

Passive Regular Sounding Leak Noise Correlation District Metering Waste Metering Combined District Metering and Waster Metering

Footnotes to Table 11.5 1. The total annual cost of detection is taken from Table 11.4.


Figure 11.1 The Optimal Level of Leakage



Total 10 Optimum Level Cost (£/prop/yr) 5 Water Lo st

Active Leakag e Control 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14

Leakage (l/prop/hr)

Marginal Cost 0.8 0.7 Active Leakage Control 0.6 0.5 Marginal Cost (£/prop/yr) 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Most Expensive Source Water

Leakage (l/prop/hr)


Figure 11.2 Graph for Prediction of Net Night Flows Passive leakage control NET NIGHT FLOW (l/prop/hr) Regular Sounding District Metering Waste Metering and combined metering Low Medium INTRINSIC LEAGAGE LEVELS High 107 .

Figure 11.3 14 Base Level of Leakage 12 12 10 10 To t a l C o s t To t a l C o s t of Leakage of Leakage Control (£/prop/yr) (£/prop/yr) 6 6 8 4 Passive Level of Leakage 2 2 0 0 0 0 10 10 20 20 30 30 40 40 50 50 60 60 70 70 Level of Leakage (m / p r o p / y r ) L e v e l o f L e a k a g e ( m 3/ p r o p / y r ) 80 80 90 90 100 100 110 110 120 120 130 130 108 .

4 Diagrammatic Representation of the Deferment of Capital Passive leakage control Reduction in leakage Active leakage control Present capacity or Yield Consequent deferment of capital scheme TIME (years) Figure 11.Figure 11.5 The Effect of Increased Detection Frequency on Leakage Level PassiveP LEAKAGE RATE COMPLAINTS LEVEL PASSIVE CONTROL C Active A Minimum M ACTIVE CONTROL t TIME Extra volume saved by doubling the detection frequency Extra volume saved by again doubling the detection frequency 109 .

Figure 11.6 Marginal Benefits of Increased Detection t x P-M 2 LEAKAGE SAVED 0 Passive 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 No. of DETECTION EXERCISES in TIME t 110 .

The components of minimum night flow from Figure 12.1 12. The values shown in Table 12. these may be ‘reported’ (not. bursts and overflows are pressure dependent and can range from less than 1 l/hr to more than 100.2):• • • • Exceptional Individual Night Use exceeding 500 l/hr Assessed Normal Customer Household and Non-Household Night Use Background Losses on Mains. 111 . and losses (leaks. a fully open tap or hosepipe can run at around 1000 l/hr. where. bursts. Appropriate methods of analysis and interpretation are needed for this data. RECENT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE INTERPRETATION AND USE OF NIGHT FLOW DATA Introduction Measured minimum night flows into well-defined District Meter Areas (DMAs) of moderate size are a very effective means by which leakage control teams can become aware of unreported bursts. flows and pressures in DMAs can now be routinely recorded relatively cheaply.individually less than 500 l/hr at 50 m pressure. at the ‘point of delivery’.000 l/hr. overflows) from a relatively small number of points on the Supplier’s distribution system and customers’ supply pipes. the responsibility for the service pipe changes from the Supplier’s underground communication pipe to the customer’s supply pipe.1.1 can be further subdivided.individually more than 500 l/hr at 50 m pressure. For the purpose of analysis all individual sources of losses from pipes and fittings can be classified (by flow rate) into two categories: • • BURSTS .1 have been assessed from recent UK research into night flow measurements. and prioritise activities to locate and repair them. Minimum Night Flows (MNFs) consist of differently sized components of customer night use from a limited proportion of properties which are ‘active’ on any given night. For comparison. which could otherwise run for long periods and accumulate considerable annual volumes of losses. both reported and unreported. requiring detection). Communication Pipes and Supply Pipes. or ‘unreported’ (awaiting detection) BACKGROUND LOSSES . 12. Thanks to advances in new technology. co-ordinated by the Water Research Centre.3 Components of Night Flows Figure 12. Measured MNFs provide awareness of unreported bursts. This diagram relates to UK practice. on Mains.12.1 shows the components of minimum night flow. therefore.2 Bursts and Background Losses Flow rates of individual leaks. in a format which can be used and developed by leakage practitioners working with the measured night flow data now being routinely collected for leakage management in the UK and elsewhere. as shown in Table 12. Communications Pipes and Supply Pipes Bursts (of finite duration). based on bursts and background losses concepts. This section seeks to collate some of the key elements of recent research and thinking. The variation of MNFs in a DMA over a longer period of time can be considered to consist of the following components (Figure 12. and Night Flow Monitoring has become the predominant leakage control method in the UK. 12.

5 l/hr x number in Group D 60 l/hr x number in Group E Sum of individual users Non-households normal use Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E >500 l/hr individually Households and nonhouseholds exceptional night use * These are ‘average’ values for background losses.6 m_/hr Supply pipe (Pressure dependent) Underground supply pipe Underground supply pipe Plumbing Background losses* 0.6 m_/hr 0.2 l/hr x number in Group B 12.6 l/hr x number in Group C 20. ‘High’ and ‘Low’ values (respectively +/-50% of the average) can be expected depending upon infrastructure condition.1 Best estimates of average values for components of 1 hour minimum night flow at 50 m AZNP Component Value or Method Assessment Distribution (Pressure dependent) Distribution mains Distribution mains Distribution mains Communication pipes Communication pipes Background losses* Reported bursts Unreported bursts Background losses* Reported and unreported bursts 40 l/hr x length of mains (km) Number x flow rate (depends on pipe size) Number x flow rate (depends on pipe size) 3 l/hr x number of props Number x 1.5 l/hr x number of props Reported and unreported bursts Background losses* Number x 1. 112 .9 l/hr x number in Group A 6.Table 12.7 l/hr x no of households (or 0.6 l/hr x no of persons) 0.5 l/hr x number of props Customer Night Use (Not normally pressure dependent) Households Normal night use 1.

9 2013 606 30 20.5 6. small holdings and cattle troughs C: Hotels.2 Non-Household Night Use Non-household night use is highly variable.6 205 79 39 53 20.2 shows data from a sample of 3000 external meters. These figures exclude individual non-household night use of more than 0. grouped by similar averages Group Sample size Number active % Active Average per Average Active for all Property Properties l/prop/hr l/prop/hr A: Unmanned fire/police stations.2 505 244 48 26 12. telephone exchanges.12. touring caravan sites.5 l/resident/hr A simplified estimation of 81/non-household/hour can be used where the property information has not been classified as in the above table. works sites E: Old peoples’ homes.1 Night Flow and Customer Use Household Night Use From a variety of tests involving 8847 UK households. market gardens. water/sewage treatment works B: Shops. craft centres. public toilets. it was concluded that the average household night use is 1.6 1/person/hr). This average use is generated principally by a small percentage of ‘active’ properties (17 %). mines and quarries 123 16 13 7 0. categorised into 5 groups for the purpose of estimating assessed non-household night use. Table 12. factories (food and manufacturers). large domestic properties. social halls. depots. gardens/ allotments. launderettes. farms. this does not include exceptional use for hosepipes or purposes equivalent to a fully open tap.6 * An alternative for larger nursing homes and hospitals is 2. 113 .4 12.4. Table 12. garage/filling stations. offices. church/chapels. livery stables D:* Hospitals.4. residential caravan sites. schools/colleges.7 l/prop/hr (0. public houses.5m3/hr.2 Average values of night flow delivered to different types of non-household.5 33 25 76 80 60. Average use is also sensitive to small changes in numbers of properties using washing machines/dishwashers overnight. 12. guest houses. cafes/restaurants. banks.

12. Burst flow data shows that service pipe bursts have a median (50 percentile) flow rate of 1.1 Losses from Bursts Losses from Bursts on Underground Services Losses from a relatively small number of unreported bursts on underground service pipes (as few a 2 per thousand properties per year) can constitute a significant and highly variable component of night flow delivered and annual water delivered. if the unreported burst in August had been allowed to run another 4 months before location and repair. Only one such burst on an underground supply pipe (equivalent to a large tap running fully open) will: • • Increase the minimum night flow of a 1000 property DMA by 1.5 12.2 Pressure Reported burst frequencies Unreported burst frequencies Leakage control or external metering policy (awareness of unreported bursts) Economic justification for sending a leakage control team out to try to locate only one or two suspected unreported service pipe bursts (equivalent to single open taps) in a DMA Policy for enforcement of private supply pipe repairs. The free repair service now offered by Water Suppliers in the UK. depending upon local circumstances. Figure 12.3 Effect of Burst Duration It is obvious that the average MNF over a year.6 l/prop/hr Lose 32 m3/day. notably: • • • • • • 12. The information should be used cautiously and only in the initial assessment of the likelihood of leakage. both reported and unreported. Using this methodology (background and bursts) it can be demonstrated that annual average losses from underground service pipes can vary from 10 to 100 l/prop/day.12. The annual average MNF is therefore influenced by the active leakage control methods. after some ‘political’ pressure. regardless of monitoring. and that a large proportion of supply pipe bursts may not be reported. for any particular DMA.5. is not paid for directly by the customer. in the absence of domestic metering at the property boundary. since mains bursts in particular can be highly variable. This is easily seen from Figure 12.700 m3/yr (the annual consumption of 100 typical households). It should not be ignored either that reducing awareness and location times as well as repair times can have a significant impact on the overall quantity wasted. and the repair times for reported bursts. 114 . The extra volume lost on the supply pipe burst illustrates the procedural difficulties associated with the customer’s ownership of that part of the service pipe. the annual average MNF would have been higher.3 gives some indication of loss rates that may be expected from mains bursts.2. will be influenced by the Water Supplier’s policies for locating and repairing unreported bursts.5. the difference being that reported bursts are brought to the attention of the Water Supplier.600 l/hr at 50m AZNP (average zonal night pressure) when located.5. even though it is his responsibility. Improving administration and communication procedures is a part of this. and the timescales for awareness/location/repair of unreported bursts.4 shows the effect that duration can have on the volume of losses. The volume lost from a single burst is the product of average flow rate x duration. Losses from Bursts on Mains Figure 12. is the Industry’s response to reduce the repair time and to save water which. or (if allowed to run a year) around 11.

6 12. manpower resources can be uneconomically deployed to look for unreported bursts in DMAs where there are only minor ‘background’ seepages. There is need therefore to incorporate other parameters (notably pressure. given all relevant local characteristics (mains length.3. 12.5 1. or other relevant parameters. AZNP (average zonal night pressure in m)) from the equation:NFLB(l/hr) = (C1 x L + (C2 + C3) x N) x PCF using the following values of C1. percentage of non-households.4. If night flow targets for individual DMAs are not realistic.0 1. number of households and non-households. mains length and non-household night use) in setting realistic night flow targets for individual DMAs. at any time.5 0. irrespective of pressure.6. The background night flow losses (when no bursts exist in a DMA) can be calculated for any DMA (given L (length of mains in km).1 Estimating Background Night Flows in Individual DMA’s Introduction It is not helpful to set the same net night flow targets for all DMAs in a supply area. the excess night flow attributable to unreported bursts.6.12. Table 12. based on the UK research of the 1980s. and infrastructure condition.3 Background Night Flow Losses Units Low Average High Background Losses Component C1: Dist mains C2 : Commun pipes C3 : Supply pipes l/km/hr l/prop/hr l/prop/hr 20 1. The ‘Background Night Flows’ approach can be used to estimate. Such a methodology also provides an independent check on the minimum night flow achieved when a DMA is initially set up.2 Methodology A methodology to estimate background minimum night flows in individual DMAs. It could indicate the night flow at which it is no longer appropriate to allocate resources to try to locate significant unreported bursts in that DMA. The DMAs with excess losses can then be identified and prioritised (for scheduling burst location activities) by cost of losses.5 40 3. after the ‘best practice’ of thoroughly checking the DMA for leaks by step-testing and sounding has been carried out. N (number of properties).0 60 4. mains length per property. C2 and C3 from Table 12. pressure) is potentially of significant value. and the pressure correction factor (PCF) from Table 12.5 115 .

2) exceptional individual customer use (household or non-household) >500 1/hr.226 2.00 1.0 1. for DMAs with different values of L/N.53 0.8 1.0 3.4. Table 12.53 l/prop/hr 7.13 l/prop/hr 9.592 The background minimum night flow for an individual DMA can be estimated by using the indicative values for background losses (in Table 12.7 l/prop/hr 8 l/prop/hr 1.8 1.53 l/prop/hr 4.33 l/prop/hr 11. Table 12.73 l/prop/hr 8.0 0. at 50m AZNP.93 l/prop/hr 4.5 shows the average values of background minimum night flow.Table 12.0 L/N = 100 4.4 AZNP (metres) PCF Pressure Correction Factors 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 .565 1.33 l/prop/hr 5.33 l/prop/hr 10. and 10% of properties are non-households using 8 l/prop/hr) Components Average Values Net night flow in l/prop/hr Mains length per property L/N = 10 L/N = 20 L/N = 50 0.33 l/prop/hr 14.8 1.8 TOTAL for ‘average’ background losses 6.33 l/prop/hr Allowing for ‘high’ background losses Allowing for ‘low’ background losses 116 .0 3.53 0. from Component Analysis (Assuming no exceptional customer use > 500 l/hr.271 1.73 l/prop/hr 8.0 1.529 .0 1.0 l/prop/hr 1.8 3.4 3.0 Distribution Losses Mains Commun pipes Underground + Plumbing Households (90%) Non Households (10%) 40 l/km/hr 3.753 1.0 1.5 Background net night flows in l/prop/hr at 50 m AZNP.884 2. with an overall allowance of 8 l/prop/hr for non-household night use.0 2.329 .3).7 l/prop/hr for normal household night use (excluding individual use > 500 1/hr) an appropriate allowance for normal non-household night use (see Section 12.53 0.53 0.33 l/prop/hr 6.0 l/prop/hr Supply Pipe Losses Assessed Customer Night Use 1. and adding the following components for night flow delivered: • • • 1.

117 .7 x 900 1530 ASSESSED NON .33 0.6 also shows that an individual one-off measurement in this DMA might have a standard deviation of 0.53 0. and to prioritise activities to locate them.7 l / household / hr x No of properties (NH) or 0.HOUSEHOLD NIGHT USE: SIMPLIFIED: 8 l / non-household / hour x No of non-households (NNH) or Classified by Groups A to E A B C D E 8 x 100 800 DETAILED: = 3330 BACKGROUND LOSSES AT 50m AZNP CONDITION DISTRIBUTION Good MAINS Average Fair CONDITION Good Average Fair L/KM/HR 20 40 60 L/PROP/HR 2.22 m3/hr arising from variability in assessed customer night use.8 x √900 114 TOTAL l / hr 224 TOTAL BACKGROUND MINIMUM NIGHT FLOW (l / hr) STANDARD DEVIATION OF ‘ONE-OFF’ MEASUREMENT ASSESSED HOUSEHOLD NIGHT USE ASSESSED NON .78 2.42 1.27 95 100 105 110 2794 115 120 0. 10% non-households.6 Example Calculation for estimating background 1 hour minimum night flows for any district meter area COMPONENTS SUB TOTAL l/hr TOTAL l/hr CUSTOMER NIGHT USE SUM OF EXCEPTIONAL NIGHT USERS >500 l/hr individually HOUSEHOLDS NON HOUSEHOLDS 0 1000 1000 ASSESSED HOUSEHOLD NIGHT USE: 1.2 standard deviations) a ‘one-off’ measured background night flow could be anywhere between 5. and 1 m3/hr exceptional night use would have a background night flow of around 6.6 l / resident / hr x No of residents (n) 1.41 2. ‘good’ infrastructure condition.87 1.88 2.39 6124 SUB TOTAL l / hr 3.8 √ NH or 2.27 1.0 LENGTH (KM) 10 SUB TOTAL 200 SERVICES NO OF PROPS 1000 2000 AZNP (meters) 60 PRESSURE CORRECTION FACTOR (PCF) AZNP(m) PCF 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 x PCF 75 80 85 90 2200 x 1.0 6. Table 12.23 2.6 m3/hr.4 √ n 3.00 1.0 4.43 0.1 m3/hr.05 2. This implies that (if exceptional night use does not vary) at the 95% confidence level (+/.18 3.64 0.59 2.75 0. It must be remembered that these are only estimates for the purpose of repetitive calculations which are intended to identify DMAs with unreported bursts.98 3.HOUSEHOLD NIGHT USE 11 √ NNH 11 x √100 110 The sample calculation (Table 12.Table 12.13 1.57 1.72 1.6 and 6.6) suggests that a 1000 property urban DMA at 60m AZNP with 10km of mains.

As skilled manpower resources are always limited. or be due to infrastructure in ‘average’ (rather than ‘good’) condition. many of them being unreported (assuming that the suspected burst has not caused a failure in standards of service to customers).6.6 (which excludes the volume lost through reported and unreported bursts during the year). Figure 12.7.g. based on a number of DMA local characteristics. to identify unreported bursts and unsuspected exceptional night users. and that large anomalies are then investigated (by sounding/step testing).6.g. night flows consistently running at around 8 to 9 m3/hr could include a single service pipe burst. from the night flow data. for infrastructure in ‘good’ condition. The key elements are numbers of properties. if background net night flows are expressed in 1/prop/hr.1 Prioritising Unreported Burst Location Activities Introduction In any group of DMAs. in city centres with large blocks of flats). the NNFs would vary between 3 1/prop/hr (20m AZNP.7 12. The target night flow may be based on either: 118 . 12. The principal ‘unknown’ factor is the general infrastructure condition. 1000 properties is near the upper limit of size for awareness of a single unreported service pipe burst. The smaller the DMA size. AZNP and exceptional individual users. It is also important to remember that the average net night flows over 12 months would always be higher than the background net night flows in Figure 12. particularly if exceptional non-household night use is very variable from night to night. at 60 m AZNP.6.7. 12. it is preferable to use numbers of residents to estimate assessed household night use (and its variability) in Table 12. For example. Where populations vary seasonally (e.that is. in order to locate (by step testing/acoustic survey) the leaks and bursts which are causing these losses. or the number of billed properties is not a good indicator of numbers of people (e. Continuous recording of night flows (rather than one-off measurements) helps considerably to reduce uncertainty. urban L/N l0m) and 12 1/prop/hr (l00m AZNP. DMAs in holiday areas). This can be easily carried out using spreadsheets. The methodology permits approximate (rather than precisely auditable) figures to be used to complete Table 12. and the assumed value of background losses in subsequent calculations adjusted to reflect this. measured night flows of around 13 m3/hr would be indicative of the existence of a typical unreported l00mm mains burst (7m3/hr at 60m AZNP) or 3 to 4 service pipe bursts (typically 2m3/hr at 60m AZNP). (L/N is an expression for the length of main per property).2 Prioritising by Excess Volume The most basic form of prioritisation is by excess volume . It is the practitioner’s job to assess. Number of non-households can initially be estimated from the overall percentage for the Supplier. the amount by which the measured night flow exceeds the target night flow in m3/hr. The methodology in Figure 12. which DMAs are most likely (at any particular time) to have high levels of economically recoverable losses. rural L/N l00m). Any remaining anomaly can then be attributed to infrastructure.6 shows that. 12. the easier it is to differentiate unreported bursts from the background night flows.3 Units for Expressing Night Flows The ‘background losses’ approach implies that it is preferable to set targets and define ‘background night flows’ (and their viability) in m3/hr. using the assumption that background losses are ‘low’.5 proposes that an initial calculation of ‘excess’ night flow is made. there will always be some bursts temporarily running at any time. insofar as it affects background losses.In this DMA. However. it is necessary to prioritise activities systematically (both within and between DMAs).

to find the biggest bursts fastest.METHOD 1: The lowest achievable night flow established following intensive step tests/sounding and repairs. and Method 1 is needed to check the cause of apparent excess night flows from Method 2. given any particular level of manpower resources for unreported burst location. This gives an immediate indication of the maximum number of bursts which are to be looked for in each DMA (recognising that a mains burst is equivalent to three or more service pipe bursts).6m3/hr) is converted to a flow rate at the AZNP in the DMA using the square root relationship for individual bursts. 1. working in a DMA with 200 properties per ESPB is likely to be more efficient than in a DMA with 1000 properties per ESPB. through low pressure.3 Alternative Prioritisation Concepts Excess volume in m3/hr can be multiplied by marginal costs in each DMA (to prioritise on the basis of excess costs) or used to estimate the probable number of unreported bursts in each DMA. However.4 The Equivalent Service Pipe Bursts (ESPB) Concept Recent research work into typical burst flow rates permits consideration of the merits of expressing losses in terms of ‘Equivalent Service Pipe Bursts’. 12. With this concept. the resulting figure gives an indication of the likely speed of location. 119 . the methods are complementary to each other.7. If the number of properties is divided by the number of equivalent service pipe bursts. i. 12.5 Economics of Unreported Burst Location Activities The manpower resources which are allocated to location of unreported bursts will depend on the overall local economics of leakage control. lack of water. i. Either priority may be over-ridden where unreported bursts cause failure of Levels of Service to customers. the median service pipe burst flow rate at 50m AZNP (1.7. 12. METHOD 2: In practice. it is preferable to use them in the most economic way.e. or through shortage of resources during droughts. Method 2 can be used to check that no leaks have been missed in using Method 1.e.6 x √ (AZNP/50) The calculated excess night flow for each DMA is then expressed as an equivalent number of service pipe bursts.7. A week-by-week addition of the calculated ESPB in all DMAs is likely to be a sensitive indicator of trends in leakage control performance. The ‘background minimum night flows’ approach.

Figure 12.1 Components of Night Flows (not to scale) 120 .

3 Median Flow Rate of Bursts (l/sec) at 50m AZNP vs Mains Diameter (mm) 121 .2 Components of Minimum Night Flows Reported bur sts Unre ported burst s B = Onset of burst R = Repair of burst BR BR B R M Minimum inimum night flow night flow 3 (m .Figure 12.hr) (m3/hr) (Su m of (Sum of components components represented represented by thick by thick black line) black line) BR B R Bursts Mains Background los ses Comm Pipes Supply Pipes Household Non-household Household Exceptional night use (individual > 500 l / hour) Non-household Use Background losses Normal night use Jan Time Dec Figure 12.

4 Estimated Durations and Flow Rates of Reported Bursts A = Awareness L = Location R = Repair 216 m_/day m3/day at 50m at 50m AZNP AZNP Reported 100mm distribution mains burst: Volume lost = 238m_ 3 238m 1.1 Days Reported communication pipe burst: Volume lost = 512m_ 3 512m m_/day m3/day 32 at 50m at 50m AZNP AZNP A L R 16 Days Reported supply pipe burst: Volume lost = 1472m_ 3 1472m m_/day m3/day 32 at 50m at 50m AZNP AZNP A L R 46 Days 122 .Figure 12.

Figure 12. simplified assessment of NonHousehold Night Use. using best estimates of Exceptional Night Use. Unknown Exceptional Night Uses. and Deduct from Measured Value* +ve Difference? No Further Action at Present Positive difference (Excess) may be due to Unreported Bursts.5 Methodology for Assessing Likely Excess Night Flow from Unreported Bursts in a District Meter Area (DMA) START Estimate Background Minimum Night flow over 1 hour. and ‘Background Losses’ for assessed ‘Good’ infrastructure condition Obtain measured Minimum Night Flow over 1 hour in l/hr Average of Series of measurements ‘One-Off’ measurement Deduct Background Night Flow to obtain difference (l/hr) Calculate Standard Deviation of Assessed Night Use. Investigate and Identify Bursts and Exce ptional Night Use. Attribute remainder to Background Lo sses and categorise as ‘Average’ or ‘High’ 123 . or Infrastructure in ‘Average’ or ‘Poor’ Condition * This r educes the chance to 1 in 6 that the adjusted value is more than t he average value f rom a series of measurements.

6 Net Night Flows with ‘Low’ Background Losses (i.e. infrastructure in ‘good’ condition) 124 .Figure 12.

1. (The first number in each of the references above relates to the relevant section of this document) 125 .4.3. 11.2 are taken from the first Report.4.2. July 1980. 26. 10.5 and 12.6 are taken from the second Report. 12/3. 12.1. 12.2. 12. and Tables 12.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The progress made in leakage management in the UK has been considerably assisted by the Water Research Centre. 12. They are: • “Leakage Control Policy and Practice”. 12.2.6. 12. working with the Water Industry.3 and 11. Standing Technical Committee Report No. 12. Figures 1. ISBN 0 904561 95 X UKWIR “Managing Leakage” series of Reports. 1994 • Figures 10. 11. There have been two major reports published of this important work. 11. 12.2.

126 .

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