Non-revenue Water Concept


Reduction of NRW requires proven solutions, tools, knowledge and expertise to successfully achieve an optimized distribution system and increased revenue.


The Danish NRW concept is a systematic and efficient tool to optimize the distribution system and lower the water losses. Reducing NRW includes several benefits:

  • Reducing NRW will increase the revenue for the utility, and in general improve future development of the city
  • Reducing NRW will lower the impact on the water resources, and compensate the impact from climate changes due to lower energy consumption (lower carbon footprint)
  • Optimizing the distribution system will reduce the energy consumption to produce and pump water
  • Optimizing the distribution system will improve the water quality for the consumers and improve health conditions in the city
  • Optimizing the distribution system will result in less damage on infrastructure
  • Optimizing the distribution system will secure water supply 24/7 and a more stabilized water pressure throughout the system, which will help the city to a more sustainable development

The Danish concept is based on a systematic collection and analysis of data leading to a fundamental understanding of the distribution system and a NRW masterplan. Advanced IT tools for storage, handling, use and modeling the large amount of data are introduced. This information is used to design and plan for physical separation of the system in smaller units and prioritization of the physical efforts in the field in the practical work through the development of KPI’s. This means use “Smart Work” as a basis for optimal conducting of “Hard Work”.

The international Water Association (IWA) standard water balance for analysis of NRW is an integrated part of the working procedure.

The overall goal is to reduce NRW, which will provide a significant improvement in the economy of the utility companies, achieving direct cost savings and increase revenue through additional water sales.



Time Frame

The overall timeframe for conducting a holistic NRW project will depend on the size of the project area and the complexity of the system. However a a typical NRW project can be conducted within 2-3 years.

General Activities
Project Management

The project management is provided to ensure the project is completed according to plans and agreements. There will be focus on collaboration, finances and time throughout the project. To achieve flow in the project management, the concept will constantly focus on those activities that are located further into the future.

Capacity Building

Capacity building is an ongoing process that aims to build up a powerful NRW-unit, which can handle the complex daily operation of NRW-reduction after the project completion.


The necessary IT infrastructure is part of the overall solution. Servers and software are ffered as part of the project.


In order to carry out a project as smoothly as possible a full time NRW-specialist will be located by the local Water Utility to ensure project progress and successful capacity building.


Concept in Detail
The Danish NRW concept contains five phases, which are described in the sections below:



Phase 1 contains a feasibility study of international standard as the basis for the final contract.
In order to be able to start Phase 1, all existing data and information must be available (pipe registration, billing system, metered flow etc.). During the phase a study and a analysis of the water supply based on existing data/information will be done. A NRW baseline, a general ELL (Economical Level of Lekage) and an IWA waterbalance will be established. The output of the pre-analysis is a documentation of the current situation and the first NRW masterplan with an overview of the NRW project (technical challenges, organization and competences). Time schedule for the phase will typically be approximately 3 months.


When all partners have agreed on the NRW masterplan the second phase can be initiated.

During this phase the data quality are improved using GIS, fieldwork, geocoding of consumers and burst registration. At the end of the phase full control of the project area is established. Flowmeters are installed at the boundaries wherby inflow can be measured and a final NRW baseline can be set up.

The output of the phase is the final NRW masterplan with prioritized activities and an economical NRW estimation.

Phase 2 will typically last 6 to 8 months depending on the size of the system.


In phase 3 a massive NRW-reduction is achieved through activities aimed at both physical and commercial losses. In regards to physical leakage detection, localization and repair are prioritized followed by pressure management.

In order to break down the NRW problem the distributions system are divided into several smaller manageable areas called District Meetering Areas (DMAs). The inflow to each DMA is measured and the NRW level can be monitored through a NRW database.

Phase 3, depending on the complexity of the system, will take 1 to 2 years to complete.


In this phase, we have high quality data (from phase 1-3), a secure hydraulic model and a NRW management system which means the activities can be more targeted. Instead of applying the activities to large areas only areas having problems are prioritized. This means saving cost and time – we “Work Smart”.

The main activities are pipe replacement in hot spot areas and fast leak repairs based
on online alarms.

Phase 4 will, depending of the complexity of the system, run over a period of 1 to 2 years.


The NRW project is now in the operation phase, where the project organization normally
leaves the project to the local operators and the utility company. During the Whole project a large training program has been held in order to keep the benefits, and also be able to increase revenues within the water supply.


To learn more about this concept, please contact:

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