Using Big Data and Smart Technology to Reduce Non Revenue Water


Addressing Non Revenue Water (NRW) losses is, and always has been, a top priority for water utilities. Not only are they costly, they’re wasting a finite, essential resource.  With the success of recent technology advancements, the process for finding and stopping water lost to leaks, burst pipes, and other sources has become easier and more efficient than ever.  Smart technology and the data it creates are at the heart of this transformation.

As water utilities have been installing smart meters and other types of digital technologies throughout their facilities and service areas, they’ve been able to accumulate valuable data.  Now organizations have an opportunity to apply this information to reduce losses to non revenue water as well as schedule timely repairs, plan for future infrastructure investments, and improve customer service.

This excerpt from the article How the Water Industry Learned to Embrace Data by the Harvard Business Review further illustrates this trend.

“…organizations are using digital technologies and data analytics to improve leak detection. According to the World Bank, the world loses about 25-35% of water due to leaks and bursts, and the annual value of this non-revenue water — water produced and lost by utilities — is $14 billion. Organizations are also using these tools to improve maintenance, infrastructure planning, water conservation, and customer service (including repair efficiencies and pricing).”

As the article also notes however, it’s not only the data that’s important.  How the employees and citizens use the data, as well as the restructuring of the company’s organizational processes and metrics to accommodate this new information are also contributing factors.  Without addressing these other components, the application of the data will be unsuccessful.

That said, more and more water utilities and other types of organizations are finding the data they’re creating through the use of their smart technology applications to be a driving force in their ability to reduce non revenue water, improve customer satisfaction, and facilitate continued growth.  For more information on how your water company or municipality can apply smart technology and big data for non revenue water loss reduction and margin enhancement, contact Innové Utility President Greg Flores at