The 4-Component Approach

 The 4-Component diagram, shown below, is widely used to explain the types of activities that are effective in managing real and apparent losses.


Managing Real Losses


Real losses cannot be completely eliminated. The lowest technically achievable annual volume of real losses - for well-maintained and well-managed systems - is known as Unavoidable Annual Real Losses (UARL). Based on an appropriate combination of all four activities involved in leakage management (shown as arrows in the diagram), real losses can be kept to a minimum. In modern systems three of these methods have proved themselves to be more cost-effective in the short term than pipeline and asset management:


• Active leakage control

• Improvement of speed and quality of repairs

• Optimization of the pressure management in the system


In systems which were built from poor quality materials or which suffer from substandard installation practices, it is often necessary to consider medium and long term solutions which include pipeline and asset management.

Source : International Water Association

Managing Apparent Losses


The following four components make up the IWA management strategy for apparent loss:


• Customer meter inaccuracies

• Unauthorized consumption, illegal connections, theft and fraud

• Data analysis errors, between archived data and data used for billing

• Data collection and transfer errors between meter and the billing system


Commercial losses should be no more than a few percentiles of authorized consumption. Combating commercial losses does not require substantial financial resources, but rather demands a firm commitment on the part of the utility management, political will, community support and incentives.


Dealing with all four components in a coordinated fashion will result in reducing the annual quantity of apparent losses to an economic level.


In some cases it is recommended that commercial loss reduction be the first step in an NRW reduction strategy, since it requires a relatively low investment and can result in immediate payback.

Source : International Water Association


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