Losses attributable to water leakage are a major concern in any water network. Even a small leak could potentially result in the loss of thousands of litres of water if left undetected. Given that each litre of this wasted water has been treated and energy has been expended pumping it around the network, such losses also represent lost revenue for water operators.
DMAs – a key weapon against leaks
District metering is an ideal starting point in the war against leaks. A District Metered Area (DMA) is a defined area of the distribution system that can be isolated by valves and for which the quantities of water entering and leaving can be metered. The subsequent analysis of flow and pressure, especially at night when a high proportion of users are inactive, enables leakage specialists to calculate the level of leaks in the district. This can be used to determine not only whether work should be undertaken to reduce leakage, but also to compare levels of leakage in different districts and thereby target maintenance in those areas where it will have the greatest impact.
Installing and accessing DMA meters can be difficult, especially in busy urban areas where the ground is already crowded with an array of underground assets, or where a pipeline runs under a major road. Conversely, meters in remote areas may be nowhere near a potential power supply. Thankfully, today’s battery technology means that meters such as ABB’s AquaMaster 3 can be sited pretty much anywhere, without having to worry about the availability of power supplies or the need for frequent access. The ABB AquaMaster offers zero pipe diameters upstream or downstream with no loss of accuracy making it the perfect flow meter for installations with limited space
Accessing the data is the next challenge, but the latest technology can help here too. ABB’s AquaMaster 3 transmitters have flow and pressure measurement capabilities, integral data-loggers with possibilities of 1 minute logging and GSM text messaging, so that leakage managers can collect all the flow and pressure data from the comfort of the office.
Water utilities have been making do with an accuracy of ±2% on mechanical flowmeters. By using an ABB AquaMaster 3 electromagnetic meter with an accuracy of ±0,5% (or even better at 0,25%), the meter pays for itself within less than a month simply by measuring and charging the water more accurately.
Further increased revenue comes from the maximum and minimum flow rates, or operating range, of an electromagnetic meter compared with that of a mechanical meter. Its unique low flow rate capability enables previously unrecordable minimal night flow rates to be properly metered, which could double the saving potential.
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