According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency resources, an estimated 14% of all drinking water transmitted for distribution to the public is lost. In some cases, U.S. drinking water utilities have reported water loss of 60% or greater. Water loss, which is also referred to as non-revenue water, can be attributed administrative errors, data-handling errors, metering inaccuracy or failure and even unauthorized consumption or theft.
For most utilities, however, the biggest contributor to water loss are leaks. Many drinking water distribution systems throughout the country were installed more than 50 years ago. This aging infrastructure is a primary concern for those utilities and in some cases leads to leaks in which utilities lose thousands or even millions of gallons of water that has been treated to drinking water standards.
To combat this, companies and solutions providers have developed leak detection products, solutions, methods and strategies. Historically, acoustic leak detection devices have been used to ping a sound from one device to another device downstream on the same pipe to listen for leaks. Some communities use dogs trained to smell chlorine to identify sections of leaking pipe where water is bubbling up to the surface. There are even solutions that use infrared images from sattelites in the atmosphere to identify potential hotspots for leaks to help utilities optimize their searches for these leaks.
In this photo gallery, you will see a handful of leak detection products and services on display at AWWA ACE23 in Toronto, Canada.
- Non-revenue water: How much is lost? (WaterWorld)
- Doubling Down on Leak Detection (WaterWorld)
- Water Audits and Water Loss Control for Public Water Systems (U.S. EPA)
- Water Efficiency for Water Suppliers (U.S. EPA)