Leakage reduction: the critical blockers

Glen Mountfort is WRc's Director of Technical Consulting

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For #DirectorsThoughtsThursday this month, Glen Mountfort, #teamWRc Director of Technical Consulting, is discussing leakage reduction and the need for a fully integrated strategy.

There’s a huge challenge to reduce demand, and in particular to reduce leakage by 50% by 2050. There is plenty to be optimistic about, we have more ability than ever to collect and analyse data that has been the result of the technological and communications revolution of the past couple of decades.

Success in achieving this will require the breaking down of traditional organisational silos. Metering strategy has to be driven by demand and leakage management, not just by customer services and billing or financial needs. A systems thinking approach to truly holistic network management is required – we cannot keep asking questions in the same way. How much money do we need to maintain the current level? A truly successful leakage strategy will be fully integrated with metering strategy, asset management and resilience approaches and processes and, of course, the water resources planning process.

There are some critical blockers, and the current approach to managing customer side leakage is inherently unfair as customers up and down the country are receiving different services. Customer side leakage policy has diverged steadily from 1997 to date. Whether supply pipe adoption is the way to go, or whether the line should be drawn consistently at the property boundary, making the customer responsible - what is clear is that the current imperfect approach is not driving either the customer or the industry to take responsibility for a key element of the problem.

Meter strategy and any potential future consultation on supply pipe adoption needs to be considered as one, including being prepared to amend legislation if required. Let’s not roll out smart meters in huge numbers now, then move the goalposts with supply pipe adoption in a decade or so. My opinion – a decision is essential one way or the other to break the current ineffective status quo. Regulatory reporting should then align with whatever decision is made. To not make any decision is to dance around the problem, rather than facing up to doing something that will be a difficult and emotive change to make, but arguably an essential one.

Learn more about WRc's leakage strategy services here.

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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Glen Mountfort

Director of Technical Consulting

Glen is responsible for all research and consultancy services related to water and wastewater infrastructure. He specialises in leakage management and water resources planning, and has an exceptional level of technical knowledge gained from more than 18 years of industry experience. Glen's skills also span project management, wastewater networks, asset management, geospatial analysis and statistics.

2022-12-08 10:02:00