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What Types of Losses Occur in Drinking Water Utilities?

Water utilities experience two broad types of losses in their distribution system:

Apparent Losses are the paper losses that occur in utility operations due to customer meter inaccuracies, billing system data errors and unauthorized consumption. In other words, this is water that is consumed but is not properly measured, accounted or paid for. These losses cost utilities revenue and distort data on customer consumption patterns.

Real Losses are the physical losses of water from the distribution system, including leakage and storage overflows. These losses inflate the water utility's production costs and stress water resources since they represent water that is extracted and treated, yet never reaches beneficial use.

Are These Losses The Same As "Un-Accounted-For" Water (UFW)?

Recent AWWA research has found that the practices of calculating "un-accounted-for" water varied so widely in utilities around the world that the term has no consistent meaning. AWWA's Water Loss Control Committee published a committee report in the August 2003 edition of Journal AWWA entitled "Applying Worldwide Best Management Practices in Water Loss Control." This report supports the use of the IWA/AWWA Water Audit Method as the best practice method to audit drinking water supplies. A fundamental concept of this method is that all drinking water can be accounted-for, via metering or estimation, as either a form of consumption, or a loss. Hence, no water is "un-accounted-for".

The AWWA's Water Loss Control Committee recommends against the continued use of the imprecise term "unaccounted-for" water, referring instead to the specifically defined Non-Revenue Water (NRW), included in the IWA/AWWA Water Audit Method.

But remember, NRW consists of three categories:

Un-billed, authorized usage (Cost of business water);

Apparent Losses (I.E. Meter & billing errors, theft); And,

Real Losses (Leakage, overflows).

Therefore, utilizing our
AuditKeeper system will enable you to paint a more valid picture of your un-billed, authorized usage - eliminating it from the NRW - which will better quantify the types of losses you're experiencing, and help you select the most appropriate method of recovery.

Reference: American Water Works Association, Water Loss Committee.

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