| Distribution System Tools: AWWA Water Audit Resources
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Distribution System Tools: AWWA Water Audit Resources

As additional drinking water utilities continue to complete the distribution system self-assessment process, sufficient information has become available to being summarizing the key action items resulting from self-assessment reports.  Several optimization action items have been identified that are common to multiple utilities.  These actions comprise a wide range of distribution system activities, due to the comprehensive nature of the self-assessment process.  Although the actions vary in terms of complexity, many of the common actions are relatively easy and inexpensive to implement – and can potentially result in a significant impact on distribution system operations and water quality.  Actions that are more complex benefit from the Partnership’s prioritization and action planning guidance, which provides a framework for developing short and long term actions that can help utilities create a path towards achieving optimization. 


One of the common actions from the Partnership’s distribution system self-assessments completed to date is the completion of a water audit.  A water audit is a quantitative analysis of water usage that enables the utility to better account for water usage and losses (both apparent and real).  Water loss control is one of the Performance Improvement Variables included in the distribution system self-assessment process.  Distribution systems considered to be optimized perform a water audit according to AWWA/IWA methodologies as outlined in AWWA Manual M36 (Water Audits and Loss Control Programs).    


AWWA has a variety of Water Loss Control and Water Audit resources, available to members and non-members (some of the resources mentioned in this article will be specific to AWWA members and require logging in to the AWWA website for access).  Some of these resources include:


Water Loss Control Resource Community – One of AWWA’s suite of Resource Communities, the Water Loss Control Resource Community features the latest information and tools to help utilities audit water usage and minimize water loss.  The Water Loss Control Resource Community is one of more than 15 Resources Communities available for access through the AWWA website.  Resource Communities cover a broad range of relevant water and wastewater topics including Cyanotoxins, Source Water Protection, Asset Management, Drought, Emergency Preparedness, and more.


AWWA Free Water Audit Software® – Also available for download from the Water Loss Control Resource Community website is AWWA’s Free Water Audit Software, which was first released to the water community in 2006.  The current version, released in 2014, provides an easy to use Excel-based platform that helps utilities assemble, quantify, and assess water audit information. 


Water Audit Data Validation and Benchmarking – AWWA’s Water Loss Control Committee also offers validation of utility water audit data.  The validation process has been completed for 25-30 utilities from across North America, and the Water Loss Control Committee has compiled aggregate results into benchmarking reports, which are available for download from the Water Loss Control Resource Community website.  AWWA members can access this benchmarking data to compare their performance with that of other comparable utilities for key water loss control benchmarking performance indicators. 


AWWA Manual M36 (Water Audits and Loss Control Programs) – Available for purchase (hardcopy or pdf available) from the AWWA website, M36 is a key water loss and auditing resource, providing complete operational guidance and data on all aspects of leak detection, water audits, and water loss control for water utilities. 


With an increased focus on water loss and water audits for many utilities, they are also commonly featured training topics – at AWWA Section Conferences and events, ACE, and online.  There is even a North American Water Loss Control Conference taking place this December in Atlanta, Georgia, with presentations featuring many of the topics and tools highlighted here. 


These and other AWWA and Partnership for Safe Water tools are available and accessible to help utilities continue to work towards and achieve optimized performance - learn more about them at www.awwa.org today!