Water Online

November 2017

Water Innovations gives Water and Wastewater Engineers and end-users a venue to find project solutions and source valuable product information. We aim to educate the engineering and operations community on important issues and trends.

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By Will Jernigan I t's an exciting time to be in water loss management. In its basic sense, water loss is a resource opportunity waiting to happen. The culmination of the last 25 years has taken water loss from an afterthought to a driving force for policy and management in water utilities across North America. We sit today on the cusp of widespread adoption of standard annual w a t e r a u d it i n g , v a l id a t ion, a nd economically driven water loss programs. The AW WA Free Water Audit Software (now in its f ifth generation) recently turned 10 yea rs old, and the current version, at over 8,0 0 0 dow nloads, has far eclipsed its predecessor (2,000 downloads). AW WA's M36 Water Audits and Loss Control Programs manual recently came out in its fourth edition; interestingly, the first edition (1991) of this anchor reference manual was entitled Water Audits and Leak Detection — a testament to how far the industry has come. In fact, AW WA's water loss brain trust, the Water Loss Control Committee (W LCC), bore this same name as its original moniker. George Kunkel is an integral member of the WLCC and former longtime manager of Philadelphia's water loss program (the longest-running in the U.S.). George was an inaugural member of the committee in 1991, rumored to have showed up and asked so many questions that they made him the committee chair. A lot has happened in subsequent years, and the WLCC has largely been the driving force. Then And Now Fast-forward to 2017. Multiple states around the U.S. are adopting the AWWA M36 standard. Presently, regulations in 11 areas (California, the Delaware River Basin, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin) require utilities to report water loss with AWWA M36 terminology. Water Research Foundation (WRF) projects have proven out widespread challenges with audit data reliability and have established formal guidelines for water audit validation. Those widespread challenges, by the way, have very little to do with direct human error. While there will inevitably be a miscalculation here and there and an ever- improving understanding of the basic audit process, the WRF studies suggest that "getting the math wrong" is not what we are 12 wateronline.com n Water Innovations Though the field of water loss management is ever-growing and refining, a validated water audit to disaggregate volumes and values of all loss components remains the essential first step to reduce water loss in a way that is economically sustainable, both for your utility and your ratepayers. With extreme weather events, conservation rate structures, and regional population shifts changing the face of business as usual, it's time to get with the program. The Next Wave Of Water Loss Management In North America What we are up against is systematic gremlins that endeavor to introduce error into the underlying data we rely upon to develop the water balance and conduct the annual water audit. Figure 1. AWWA M36 concept of economic optimum

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