Water Loss Control

Minimize System Losses by Implementing Water Loss Controls

Water Loss Controls

Water loss control represents the efforts of water utilities to provide accountability in their operation by reliably auditing their water supplies and implementing controls to minimize system losses.

Utilities incur real losses from pipeline leakage and apparent losses when customer water consumption is not properly measured or billed.

AWWA advocates the water audit method developed jointly by the International Water Association and AWWA.

The IWA/AWWA Water Audit Method provides the best management practice tools and guidance water utilities need to efficiently manage their supplies.


Tools for Water Audit Analysis

AWWA Water Audit Software

The new version of the AWWA Free Water Audit Software (v6.0 2020) is now available. This software is the industry standard tool for conducting the annual water audit and using the results to guide a program for cost-effective water loss control and revenue recovery. It first came out nearly 15 years ago, and is now used throughout North America and in other countries around the world.

Version 6 represents a major evolution of this tool – incorporating over 1,000 improvements from user-provided comments. Key upgrades include a new Interactive Data Grading feature; a new Performance Indicator Dashboard providing more visibility into how well you are doing and how you can improve; and a streamlined user experience.

Water Audit Reference Dataset

A summary of the AWWA Water Audit Reference Dataset (WARD) is now available for download by filling out the form.

The WARD was created by AWWA’s Water Loss Control Committee (WLCC) to help utilities compare their attributes and key performance indicators (KPIs) with other utilities.

AWWA Manuals

M36 Water Audits and Loss Control Program, Fourth Edition

Technical Guidance

Pressure Management: Options and Opportunities

For many drinking water utilities effective pressure management can help extend asset life, improve customer service, and reduce water losses and the risks of asset failures. This fact sheet, which was developed by AWWA’s Water Loss Control Committee, provides a brief overview of pressure management and its benefits.

Key Performance Indicators for Non-Revenue Water – Water Loss Control Committee Report

This report, which was developed and approved by AWWA’s Water Loss Control Committee, outlines the Association’s position on the use of non-revenue water (NRW) key performance indicators (KPI). Building on the Committee’s work to evaluate and update the KPIs in AWWA’s M36 Water Audits and Loss Control Programs and Free Water Audit Software.

Assessment of Performance Indicators for Non-Revenue Water Target-setting and Progress Tracking

This report is part of the Water Loss Control Committee’s work to evaluate and update the non-revenue water KPIs in AWWA's M36 Water Audits and Loss Control Programs and the associated Free Water Audit Software. The WLCC used information from the report to develop the Key Performance Indicators for Non-Revenue Water Committee Report, which recommends KPIs that utilities and regulators can use to assess and improve water loss control performance.

Governmental Policies for Drinking Water Utility Water Loss Control (2022)

The State of Water Loss Control in Drinking Water Utilities (2016)

State by State Water Loss Policy Map (2016)

Best Practice in Water Loss Control Flyer (2015)


Tools for Water Audit Analysis

AWWA Water Audit Compiler

The AWWA Water Audit Compiler© (Compiler) can be used to quickly assemble water audit data from multiple water utilities; allowing for comparisons of data across water utilities. The Compiler can also be used to compile multiple years’ of water audit data for a single utility; allowing the water efficiency history of a water utility to be viewed at a single glance. 

A new Compiler (v6.0) is now available. The Compiler v6.0 will compile the data submitted in the AWWA Free Water Audit Software© Version 6.0 (FWAS v6.0) into a master table (Data sheet). The data can then be viewed in graphical form using the Compiler v6.0 built-in charts.  If the user wishes to manipulate and visualize the data further, the data can be exported out of the Compiler v6.0. The Compiler v6.0 will only work with FWAS v6.0 files in the native ".xlsx" file type, and will not work with FWAS v6.0 files saved in a format other than ".xlsx". The Compiler will not directly import older versions of the FWAS, but older versions can be added to the Compiler v6.0 by importing already-compiled audit data from a Compiler v5.0, using the “Add v5 Compiled” function in the Data sheet.    

The previous Compiler (v5.0) is still available for compiling water audits in the FWAS v5.0. 

Like the Audit Software, the Compiler was created in a Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet format and it works hand-in-hand with the Audit Software. The Compiler was developed to improve the management of water audit datasets containing multiple water audits in small or large number. It was originally devised to help state and regional water resources agencies to easily aggregate and analyze large datasets and to provide trending and analysis tools to guide the process.

Once data is assembled in the Compiler, graphics can be displayed and sorted easily with any of the audit inputs and outputs. The data gathered into the Compiler can also be exported to a separate Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet where the user can conduct further analysis of their own design.

Leakage Component Analysis Model

In 2014, the Water Research Foundation, with support from the US Environmental Protection Agency, published the final report and spreadsheet software tool for Project 4372a entitled Real Loss Component Analysis: A Tool for Economic Water Loss Control. The purpose of research project 4372a was to identify the best methods for conducting a leakage component analysis to be used to set a cost-effective leakage control strategy in a water utility. The project was also charged to employ these best practices in the creation of a spreadsheet software tool that works in complimentary fashion with the Audit Software. The key project deliverable was the Leakage Component Analysis Model (LCA Model).

Since the water audit results provide an annual real loss volume that is determined as a catch-all quantity remaining after all of audit components are input, very limited insight is given for leakage control purposes when compiling the water audit. The LCA Model was designed to pick up where the AWWA Free Water Audit Software leaves off, in terms of leakage assessments. The LCA Model provides the water industry with an easy-to-use spreadsheet tool to conduct a leakage component analysis, determine the water utility’s failure frequency analysis, provide guidance to set the economic leakage control intervention strategy, and display key water loss performance indicators.

Project 4372b entitled Water Audits in the United States: A Review of Water Losses and Data Validity summarizes state regulations on water loss reporting and analyzes 4,575 water audits (that follow AWWA water audit methodology) submitted to the California Urban Water Conservation Council, Georgia EPD, Texas Water Development Board, Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, and the Delaware River Basin Commission from 2011-2014. The results provide a national snapshot of water loss reporting, including an assessment of water audit validity and median results for key performance indicators.

Validated Water Audit Data

The AWWA Water Loss Control Committee has been collecting and validating water audit data from up to 30 North American utilities using the IWA/AWWA Water Loss Methodology from 2011 to 2017. In the inaugural year, water loss findings from 21 North American utilities were presented in an analysis report, and validated audits have been added to the North American dataset each subsequent year. 

A subsequent analysis and peer-reviewed article was developed in 2016 for Journal AWWA. This project is known as the Water Audit Data Initiative (WADI), and was sunset in 2017. Data from all seven years of the WADI can be downloaded from the links below. The AWWA Water Loss Control Committee wishes to thank all utility participants over the years for agreeing to share their data.

AWWA Policy Statements

AWWA's policy statements are brief statements on protecting and improving water supply, water quality, management, and the interests of the public and the environment. They are written by consensus, subject to review and comment by AWWA committees, councils, and members. Because they represent AWWA's position on these matters, they are approved by the AWWA Executive Committee of the board of directors.

Technical Committee Engagement

AWWA members are recognized globally for their industry expertise and their generosity in sharing that expertise for a better world through better water. AWWA members participate in committee activities, developing conference programs, writing technical manuals, developing standards, creating educational content and contributing to AWWA publications. Committee members primarily interact through conference calls, emails, and face to face meetings at conferences and events. Access more information on volunteering for an AWWA committee.

The following committees are active in addressing water loss control issues: