Detecting and repairing leaks is one of the main components of water conservation in water distribution systems.

Old or poorly constructed pipelines, inadequate corrosion protection, poorly maintained valves and mechanical damage are some of the factors contributing to leakage. Leak detection has historically assumed that all, if not most, leaks rise to the surface and are visible. In fact, many leaks continue below the surface for long periods of time and remain undetected.

With an aggressive leak detection program, water systems can search for and reduce previously undetected leaks. Water lost after treatment and pressurization, but before delivered for the intended use, is water, money and energy wasted. Accurate location and repair of leaking water pipes in a supply system greatly reduces these losses. Once a leak is detected, the water utility must take corrective action to minimize water losses in the water distribution system.

Benefits of leak detection and repair

Minimizing leakage in water systems has many benefits for water customers (and their suppliers). These benefits include:

• Improved operational efficiency.
• Lowered water system operational cost.
• Reduced potential for contaminants.
• Extended life of facilities.
• Reduced potential property damage and water system liability.
• Reduced water outage events.
• Improved public relations.



Some added benefits of leak detection and repair which are difficult to quantify include:

• Increased knowledge about the distribution system, which can be used to respond more quickly to emergencies and set priorities for replacement or rehabilitation programs.
• More efficient use of existing supplies and delayed capacity expansion.
• Increased fire fighting capability.