While many organizational problems need addressing, the biggest concerns related to leakages result from failures in piping networks. Utilities can overcome this issue by retrofitting water networks with pressure management systems. Cutting-edge pressure regulating valves (PRV) such as NeoFlow from GF Piping Systems successfully combat the loss of water resources and prepare utilities for a more sustainable future.
The term non-revenue water (NRW) refers to the difference between the water introduced into a distribution system and the water billed to the customer. These losses are a worldwide issue. The International Water Association estimated that the global volume of NRW is around 346 million cubic meters per day or 126 billion cubic meters per year. In financial terms, the value of these losses is approximately $39 billion per year.
In the future, utilities will have to drastically reduce the amount of water lost each year to meet demands. The first step is to understand the causes: NRW can be commercial, meaning that utilities have organizational problems, including inadequate knowledge about the location of meters, the wrong metering technology, corruption, or theft. “It is important to understand that many different factors and not just leaks cause NRW,” explains Olivier Narbey, Senior Business Development Manager, Water Network Performance at GF Piping Systems. “Utilities need to take a holistic approach and exchange information and knowledge amongst each other to overcome this global challenge.”
Nevertheless, NRW is often physical in nature due to technical issues in the water network. In this context, insufficient pressure management is mostly to blame. Especially in ever-expanding cities, water networks are frequently over-pressurized to meet growing demands which massively shortens the lifespan of pipes and fittings and causes leakages. This is something that can be addressed by implementing modern pressure management solutions, however, as reducing pipe pressure by 25% can cut water losses by up to 75%. “As a result, pressure management is one of the most effective areas where utilities can improve”, Olivier Narbey notes. “But to proactively improve their pressure management and combat water loss, utilities need technical solutions that are easy to handle, install and maintain, while offering high performance. This is where modern pressure regulating valves (PRV) come in.”
NeoFlow – Compact, intelligent and low maintenance
The NeoFlow pressure regulating valve from GF Piping Systems is designed to deliver accurate and stable flow and an increased flow capacity for utilities. It has a simple axial flow design consisting of three components and one moving part – there is no stem, actuator, or diaphragm. Axial flow allows the valve to operate between 1% and 100% opening, giving utilities full control over the flow rates in their water networks. The body of the PRV is made from polymer and is therefore lightweight and corrosion-free. Because of this, NeoFlow offers high reliability, a long operational lifetime, and lower maintenance requirements. The reduced weight and simple construction make the installation easier and more cost-effective.
At the same time, NeoFlow features an integrated pilot valve that optimizes pressure regulation and is configurable with equipment that monitors flow and water quality. For example, due to the compact design of the PRV, it is very easy to install flowmeters via the interfaces on the valve body without having to modify existing piping systems. These smart capabilities enable NeoFlow to become part of an automated water network when coupled with a pilot valve that can be controlled and programmed remotely.
Non-revenue water is a challenge facing utilities around the world. In the fight to massively reduce water loss, pressure management is a key factor on the road to success. By proactively improving this area, utilities can avoid leakages and save valuable resources. But to do so, utilities need smart, efficient, and cost-effective solutions that are easy to implement. “With its simple polymer construction and smart capabilities, the NeoFlow PRV opens the door to more balanced pressure management, intelligent monitoring, and greatly improved reliability. Additional labor and cost savings also support more sustainable operations”, summarizes Olivier Narbey. “At GF Piping Systems, we hope that NeoFlow can be part of the solution in the fight against water loss.”
Info Box: The benefits of using polymer PRVs in the fight against water loss
- Proactive pressure management reduces NRW thanks to fewer leakages
- The simple and compact construction is easy to install and maintain
- Axial flow allows utilities to control flow rates from 1% to 100%
- Smart features increase the functionality and pave the way for automated water networks
- Increases performance while lowering costs and saving resources