Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Model Helps Cities Recover Lost Water Resources

24.03.2010
Clean water is scarce and becoming more so in many cities around the world. According to the World Health Organization, between 1990 and 2006, the number of urban dwellers without access to clean drinking water grew from 107 million to 137 million.

An RTI researcher says the first way to meet this fast-rising demand is to reduce losses from existing production rather than building more reservoirs and water treatment plants.

"Water from new plants and storage costs about three times as much as water from efficiency gains in existing production," said Alan Wyatt, RTI water supply and sanitation specialist. "If utilities recover the water that gets lost in distribution, they can sell that water, increase revenue, and serve more people while offsetting the need for new production capacity."

The World Bank estimates that less-developed countries lose about US$5.8 billion a year from "non-revenue" water that is not paid for because of physical losses (pipe leaks or bursts) and commercial losses, including unmetered public users, illegal connections, meter error, and unpaid bills.

However, utilities must weigh the costs of capturing this non-revenue water, through leak reduction, metering, and other tactics, against the savings and revenue they would recover.

A new financial model developed by RTI through self-funded research determines the optimal non-revenue water losses that a utility in a developing country should target, based on its unique scenario. The model also tells a utility how frequently it should carry out water loss-reducing tactics, like checking pipes for leaks and replacing water meters.

"The importance of the model is that utilities now have a rational target to aim for," said Wyatt.

Other models that calculate a utility's optimal non-revenue water do not account for commercial losses and require data that are not readily available in developing countries. Consequently, policymakers resort to generic targets for acceptable levels of water and revenue loss.

RTI's new model calculates the diminishing return of reducing non-revenue water losses for a specific utility by comparing the marginal costs of controlling physical and commercial losses to the marginal savings in production costs and the marginal revenues from water sales. For utilities that lack sufficient data to fill in all the parameters of the model, it estimates default values based on trends in developing countries.

An application of RTI's model to regional water utilities in Zambia revealed the three utilities with the worst non-revenue water losses, showing operators where to focus their attention. In these three regions, the production cost savings and increased revenue from optimizing water losses could pay for expanding distribution from 74% to 100% of the population.

"If utilities in developing countries fully exploit their existing capacity, they have the water and the finances to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for water coverage," said Wyatt. "Rather than building the next treatment plant, priority one should become making the water distribution system more efficient."

RTI is seeking to collaborate with donors and water utilities to refine its model and develop guidebooks for applying it. Those interested should contact Alan Wyatt at asw@rti.org.

About RTI International:
RTI International is one of the world’s leading research institutes, dedicated to improving the human condition by turning knowledge into practice. Our staff of more than 2,800 provides research and technical expertise to governments and businesses in more than 40 countries in the areas of health and pharmaceuticals, education and training, surveys and statistics, advanced technology, international development, economic and social policy, energy and the environment, and laboratory and chemistry services.

Lisa Bistreich | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.rti.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh

nachricht Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>