Utilizing Smart Water Networks to Manage Pressure and Flow for Reduction of Water Loss and Pipe Breaks


Smart utility approaches and smart water network (SWN) technologies are promising methods for reducing main breaks and water leaks. The benefit of smart utility approaches are seen when real-time data from sensors are leveraged into actionable information by integrating water processes with information technology (IT) and communication technologies. This enables utilities to improve the detection, management, and prevention of pressure and flow changes that cause stress within their distribution systems. 

Utilizing Smart Water Networks to Manage Pressure and Flow for Reduction of Water Loss and Pipe Breaks (4917) conducted four SWN pilots at both large and small utilities to confirm SWN technologies. These pilots were conducted at the City of Lakewood, CA; Water and Wastewater Authority of Wilson County, TN; Sydney Water, Sydney, Australia; and Water Corporation of Western Australia. With results from a series of case studies and lessons learned, the research provides the basis for a guidance manual on best practices to manage pressure and flow, resulting in the reduction of water loss and pipe breaks. Example technologies include: (1) a real-time hydraulic model with remote sensor input and the ability to run scenarios quickly, (2) smart customer meters and a smartphone app to assess customer behaviors around consumption and real-time reporting of leaks, (3) high-frequency pressure monitoring combined with an analytics platform to identify leaks before they become larger main breaks, and (4) pressure monitoring equipment and transient pressure monitoring that can indicate the presence of leaks and main breaks. 
During this webcast, we discussed the literature review, utility survey, pilot approach framework, and findings of the pilot projects. 


  • Mike Karl, National Optimization Services Leader, Brown and Caldwell
  • Scott Simpson, PE, Senior Associate, Utility Optimization Specialist, Brown and Caldwell
  • Chris Leauber, Executive Director, Water & Wastewater Authority of Wilson County, Tennessee


  • Mary Smith, Research Program Manager, The Water Research Foundation