The LEAKman project is initiated to demonstrate Danish solutions for limiting drinking water loss and pave the way for new technology.

Unique Danish partnership against global water loss

Leakage levels in Danish drinking water networks are among the lowest worldwide, with an average loss below 10 %. The relatively small amount of water lost in Denmark is primarily a result of a long-term effort of establishing strategic rehabilitation processes, good craftsmanship and accurate measurements of production and demand consumptions. This has further been supported by political incentives and a culture with little corruption and stealing of water.

The LEAKman project intends to establish guidelines for selecting the proper tools and techniques to be implemented at water utilities world-wide in order to reduce the NRW level to a specific target level. It will include several vital aspects such as economic analysis of the return of investment (economic level of leakage), selecting appropriate KPIs for targets and monitoring of effect of different leakage management solutions and the implementation of interfaces between the systems.

Denmark has the know-how

Denmark has the know-how and some of the best high-tech solutions for limiting non-revenue water (NRW). This has been demonstrated on several projects in Denmark as well as internationally. As an example NIRAS participated in a project in Al Ain during 2010-2012 where the NRW-levels in selected DMAs were reduced from up to 40 % to as low as 10-15 % in around 12 months. This was achieved by an active leakage management system using noise loggers and water balancing together with an alarm and work order system to increase the speed of repairs. The project also showed that in these areas it was not possible to reach lower NRW-levels with the tools implemented, and the work effort required to maintain the 10-15 % was relatively high.

Two state-of-the-art demonstration facilities in Denmark

Two large scale demonstration facilities have been initiated at the Danish water utilities Novafos and HOFOR (Greater Copenhagen Utility). The demonstration facilities will be set up using state-of-the-art tools and techniques in order to test, verify and optimize leakage management solutions with the goal to reduce NRW-levels to 4-6 %, and maintain that level. The approach will follow the best practices as recommended by IWA by working on all four pillars of leakage management: 1) Pressure management, 2) Active leakage control, 3) Pipeline management & rehabilitation and 4) Speed & quality of repairs.

The technology behind – from noise loggers to holistic monitoring

The implementation of the demonstration facilities will include installation and use of intelligent valves, pumps, noise loggers, smart meters, smart inspections, SCADA, online hydraulic modelling, GIS and a holistic management information system configured for automated calculation and display/reporting of selected key performance indicators. Even though many of these components are already in use at water utilities, they are often installed as part of separate projects with only little or inefficient interface in between the different components. As a consequence, the full potential of the entire system is never reached.

A key point of the implementation is to establish seamless and generic interfaces between all components in order to optimize the value of each individual system when combined with the other systems. The large scale demonstration facilities will provide a unique play-ground for practical analysis and investigations of effect and changes achieved with the implementation and combination of technologies. With such standard interfaces implemented future installation of new systems will not only possess increased efficiency but will also be faster to implement at lower costs.

Big data analysis

The intensive data collection planned, which includes individual customer monitoring and data collection of demand, backflow, temperature and other parameters on a 1-hour basis will, together with even more detailed measurements from the network allow for “big data” analysis which is expected to generate new innovative knowledge.

The partners behind the project

The LEAKman project is a selected Lighthouse Project under the Danish Eco-Innovation Program (in Danish. MUDP – Miljøteknologisk Udviklings- og Demonstrationsprogram) supported by the Ministry of Environment and Food. The project runs for four years – 2016 to 2019, and has an overall budget of 43 mill. DKK.

Nine Danish partners have formed a consortium with the objective to demonstrate the use and effect of integrated high-end solutions, based on Danish technologies and know-how, within Leakage Management. The nine partners represent leading technology providers, consultants, utility companies and a technical university.