A $14 billion-dollar problem the nations across are facing in common (Non-revenue water) should have been dealt in a better way instead of being overlooking at it time and again. Though the numbers are extremely high in losses, it is one of the highly underrated segments in the utility industry making the nations suffer like never.
Forbes in a report said, average U.S water utility based in a city “Loses up to 30% through leaks or unbilled usage.”
It’s high time for the technology experts to invest in solving the most common water problem – Non-Revenue Water, an opportunity which is up for the grabs.
Emerging markets are expected to invest over $46 billion by 2023 on technology aimed at improving the management of water resources, Forbes said.
Some of the areas include smart water meters, water networks, precision agriculture and irrigation systems.
It’s believed that Non-Revenue water is all about leakages which is not. Water used for firefighting and water that come from standpipes also fall under NRW.
Let us now look at what it takes to reduce Non-Revenue Water;
Leading through Acoustic way
Acoustic leak detection is an important way for utilities to identify leaks that accounts to non-revenue water. A combination of acoustic sensors along with AMI technology and data analysis software that can help in identifying the vibration patterns in the distribution system.
With the help of acoustic leak detection system, utilities can effectively manage their dashboard with automatic survey for distribution leaks. It not only helps the utility in streamlining the process but also minimizes the loss by it can cause before it gets too worse.
District Metering Analysis
Analyzing is the best form of finding a solution to a problem. In this case, it is all about grouping and storing the data into a software application for an analysis.
It can be done by identifying the meters that feed water into the districts, supposedly the master meter. Then, identifying the group meters within the district and aggregating the consumption of these meters on an interval basis followed by storing the aggregated consumption of water by the district in a virtual meter.
Now, comparing the net consumption of the master meter with metered consumption of the aggregated district on a time sync interval basis. The difference between the net consumption on the virtual meter can be recorded as NRW which can include leaks.
Installing Meter Tampers
Whenever a connection is lost between meter and its interface, a tamper flag is sent or said to be raised to alert the utility. The structure is that, a communication module takes reading of consumption each hour to store in its memory along with reading, it can also detect if there is a change in connectivity to the meter register. If there is a change, the communication module alerts the utility by raising a tamper flag.
The tamper and the leak can be visible in the user interface allowing the utility to continue monitor the average consumption of water after identifying the leak. An early understanding of the impact of leak can be determined in the meanwhile until it gets fixed.
This process of meter tampers can also be of some help at the later stage for investigation purpose in measuring the percentage of water lost during the tamper.
Managing Pressure in the Distribution System
Pressure is not just about handling at crunch times and during adversities. But also, managing the pressure of water in the distribution system.
One of the convenient ways to reduce the losses is through reducing the pressure of water. Though it might hamper the service provided to the end users, a little study on the behavioral patterns of a city or neighborhood can help the utility to understand the time zone where water pressure drop can be implemented. Mostly, it is identified as late hours of the day.
During this process, utilities tend to breakdown into pressure zones. While the pressure is monitored at the inlet, average zone and critical zone. Here, average pressure at a place accounts to average zone and low-pressure zone falls under critical zone allowing the utility to decide the level of pressure required to cater the needs/requirement.
The reduction of pressure can deliver exhilarating results without causing any trouble to the end users if dealt properly before identifying the leaks and fixing it.
Badger Meter, an innovation in flow measurement serving water utilities and municipalities have come up with ultrasonic meters to address the problem.
The device is designed for high measurement with great accuracy that lasts for long. Smart alarms can provide early detection for flow, temperature and pressure disturbances for utilities to manage their systems more accurately. Fully electronic meters with programmable registration and reporting features is one their key element that is helping the industry in measuring the flow of water and in monitoring the pressure patterns for leak detection.
Industries and Technology experts have come up to find a solution for NRW to the reduce the losses. But, it needs a collaborative approach from various departments to achieve the feat. Public participation in contributing to a stress-free water utilization is a clear add-on.