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Water-losses reduction in urban water supply

This Solution was tailored to Local Governments who have ownership or regulatory authority over the municipal water supply system. In this Solution, the Local Government takes a comprehensive approach throughout the different phases of the system`s project and useful life to decrease water-loss, both due to leakage and ruptures and to unaccounted consumption, from policy setting, project design, and project evaluation criteria to operation, monitoring, and maintenance of the system.

This Solution is applicable to new projects, expansions, renovation of existing systems, and to their operation. In this context, the Local Government`s key leverages to deliver an energy-efficient system range from "policy" and "regulation" to "procurement", eventually combined with "operation and maintenance".

Motivation / Relevance

Despite the abundance of water on the planet, fresh-water is a scarce resource, amounting to approximately 2.5% of all the water. Not all fresh water is readily accessible (groundwater, glaciers, etc.) and in general, fresh-water must be treated to achieve drinking -water quality [1].

Water supply systems can have very high water losses due to leakages, corresponding to a significant waste of resources, not just water, but also energy, chemicals, and money. For example:
  • In Nagpur, India, during 2005, 45% of the potable water produced was lost due to leakage and, eventually, unaccounted consumption [2].

Therefore, minimizing water-losses in water supply systems has high mitigation potential for Local Government`s operations, and other potential benefits, including economic savings and contributing to safeguard public health.

Main impacts

  • Contribute to increase access to drinking water and safeguard public health.
  • Decrease the risk of shortage / failure of the municipal water supply system.
  • Delay the need for large capital investments for expansion of water capture, adduction, treatment, and distribution.
  • Decrease the pressure on natural fresh water resources and ecosystems.
  • Potentially lower water costs to the end consumer, and derived socio-economic benefits.
  • Water supply system becomes more climate resilient (better performance both in case of drought and flooding).
  • Climate mitigation.

Benefits and Co-Benefits

  • Decrease the water-loss in the municipal water supply systems.
  • Minimize exposure of the water supply consumers to the by-products of corrosion (such as lead, copper, and cadmium).
  • Minimize potential contamination of potable water during distribution (a leaky plumbing enables entrance of external contaminants, including fecal contaminants if the pressure within the system drops below the surroundings´ level; for e.g.: in case of high water table level).
  • Decrease the energy needed to produce and deliver drinking water.
  • Decrease the greenhouse gas emissions due to energy consumption for the production and delivery of drinking water to the population.
  • Decrease the Local Government`s energy bill.