Non - Revenue Water

What is non-revenue water? Understanding its importance and impacts.





Non-revenue water, or NRW, is defined as the difference in water supplied and the total amount of billable water received by the end-users. The International Energy Agency estimated that NRW around the world averages out to be around 34%, though the numbers can differ by region. Even for developed countries, NRW continues to be a problem, with countries such the United States reporting NRW levels at 16%, or Taiwan reporting an NRW level of 27%. This can result in significant amount of lost revenue. NRW can be caused by leaks, deteriorating pipeline infrastructures, or even illegal tapping of water.

The benefits to reducing NRW is both tangible and substantial. Not only will less water be wasted, the reduced water that needs to be treated for consumption means lesser energy input as well. This makes for increased revenues from more accurate billing and reduced operational expenses, improving return on investments. NRW is also a mark of the capabilities of a utility. Successful utilities can effectively reduce physical losses, illegal tapping and also ensure provision of accurate and transparent data.

To reduce NRW, the root issues need to be effectively solved. Some measures include splitting the distribution network into multiple district metering areas, establishing models to identify leakage and illegal connections, and investing in new infrastructure to replace the deteriorating ones.

Managing NRW is vital, and emerging technologies has made this task an increasingly simple one. Successful reduction of NRW is no longer just a pipedream.