Steps To Reduce Non-Revenue Water Loss

What is Non Revenue Water?

Non-revenue water (NRW) is essentially produced, cleaned water that is misplaced throughout the water distribution system and never makes it to its intended location. This is water that is not used or paid for, which has an impact on local economies and the resources that are accessible. NRW comprises of:

  • Apparent Losses, also termed ‘commercial losses’, which are caused by inaccurate metering, data handling errors, theft and unknown connections.
  • Real Losses, also termed ‘physical losses’, which covers leakages from all parts of the system and overflows at storage tanks. Real losses are caused
    by poor operations and maintenance, combined with poor quality of the underground assets.
  • Unbilled Authorized Consumption, which is water used for flushing and firefighting, as well as water provided free to certain customer groups.

(Green, 2022)

Steps to reduce water loss and non-revenue water:
  1. Promptly recover from leaks and breaks. Some of the main reasons for water loss include leaking pipes and other equipment, usually caused by breaks or bursts. It may be days, weeks, or even years before a leak is discovered, and it can be difficult to pinpoint its specific location in a vast, extensive network.
  2. Observe network activity. Noise loggers built into devices like ground-level surface boxes, for example, make it easier to find leaks. The loggers respond to the sound of leaking water and give operators the ability to enter precisely when and where they are required. Water pressure can be measured and controlled in various parts of the water supply network using the district metering areas (DMAs) technology. Additionally, the system may gather data for insightful insights by attaching clever, intelligent sensors to crucial network assets.
  3. Identify ways to combat illicit consumption. Water theft, unauthorized hookups, and use are widespread problems around the world. The DMA structure can be effectively applied to provide a network-wide perspective of where illicit consumption occurs. There are also useful techniques for protecting simple targets like fire hydrants; with continual monitoring, the hydrant may send out an alert when the cover is lifted.
  4. Quality products and solutions. Given everything said above, it is reasonable to emphasize that superior goods and services form the foundation of every effective water system. The costs and hassles associated with selecting cheap, quick fixes are significantly more than those of making an investment in a reliable, well-thought-out solution.
  5. Education & training. We must foster an environment that promotes knowledge-sharing in order to ensure that the water sector is effectively prepared to meet future demands. This includes not only technical solution insights but also a focus on communicating this broader, more comprehensive perspective on water to those who will be making decisions.
Perform a Water Audit

Performing a water audit and developing a complete water loss control program does not have to be overwhelming. By beginning with the basic steps and principles outlined in this document, any water system can begin the process of identifying and mitigating water losses. Additional resources available to assist water systems in performing water audits include the following:

(EPA, 2015)

AWWA Water Loss Control – Resources & Tools

Works Cited

Green, State of. “The Importance of Reducing Non-Revenue Water.” State of Green, 15 Sept. 2022,

Group, AVR. “Beat the Leaks: A Step-by-Step Guide to Reduce Water Loss and Non-Revenue Water.” 10 Ways to Reduce Water Loss and NRW, 2022,

EPA, EPA. “Water Audits and Water Loss Control for Public Water Systems – US EPA.” WATER AUDITS AND WATER LOSS CONTROL FOR PUBLIC WATER SYSTEMS, 2015,

AWWA, AWWA. “Water Loss Control | American Water Works Association.” Minimize System Losses by Implementing Water Loss Controls, 2022,

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