In today's world of global warming and rising populations, water is a vital resource. Over 70% of the Earth's surface is covered by water, but only 0.5% of this water is suitable for human consumption. Despite this, more than a third of the world's drinking water supply is lost from municipal distribution systems before it reaches the consumer.
In most cities in the industrialized world, the water infrastructure was laid at the beginning of the 20th century. Although such infrastructures are rapidly aging, most water utilities under-invest in the replacement and renewal of the pipes delivering water to households and industry.
A major challenge facing municipalities is how to deal with the high levels of Non-Revenue Water (NRW). NRW is the gap between the amount of water put into the distribution system and the amount of water for which customers are actually billed. High levels of NRW reflect huge volumes of water being lost through leaks (real losses), water not being invoiced (apparent losses) or both.
The numbers are staggering - many millions of cubic meters of clean, drinkable water are lost daily in the world. Non-revenue Water (NRW) is estimated to be valued at over $18 billion per year worldwide.
Proven methodologies for reducing NRW have been developed. Products and technologies supporting these methodologies are available today. However, despite the obvious benefits, NRW management has not been embraced on a large scale by most water utilities around the world.
Lowering these enormous levels of NRW is vital. Not only will it provide more water to people who need it, it will also alleviate many environmental problems related to water, save energy, lower contamination risks and greatly improve the financial situation of both municipalities and residents.