Smart leakage management
According to the IWA standard water balance, total water loss (one of the components of non-revenue water) is made up of real and apparent (commercial) water losses. Leakage and bursts make up real losses. A leakage management strategy aims to reduce leakage to a point where the expense of reducing leaks becomes higher than the cost of water lost. This is known as the ‘economic level of leakage’ (ELL). Smart technologies allow utilities to decrease the ELL to even lower levels than with traditional methods.
Drivers for adoption
The first step to be taken when considering the adoption of smart water solutions to manage leakage is the identification of a clear-cut business case, which is key to making utilities more receptive to this sector. Business cases vary between utilities as they have unique challenges and extenuating circumstances that influence the criteria viewed as most important.
Conventional leakage management
According to the widely accepted and used methodology proposed by the then IWA’s Water Loss Task Force (now known as the IWA’s Water Loss Specialist Group) there are four leakage management methods:
Smart technologies for managing leakage
Taking into account the smart water concept that is delineated in Chapter 1 of this report, smart leakage management involves:
As mentioned earlier, the market for smart leakage solutions, as well as for smart water solutions in general, is fragmented and composed of various companies with niche technologies, leakage specialist companies, and large companies with a wide offering of which leakage solutions is only a part. The following figure provides further information on some of the companies that are active in smart leakage management.
Challenges in adopting smart leakage solutions
Numerous advancements are being made in leakage management. However, there are challenges affecting the adoption of smart solutions to manage leakage, and many of the challenges this segment of the market faces are shared by the smart water network market as a whole.
We estimate that the smart leakage management market size in 2013 is $1,493.7 million. By 2018, this market is expected to be worth $2,794.8 million, which shows a CAGR of 13.35%.