American Society of Civil Engineers

Implementation of Pressure and Leakage Management Strategies on the Gold Coast, Australia: Case Study

by Mark Girard, (Exec. Ofcr., Queensland Water Directorate, P.O. Box 2100, Fortitude Valley QLD 9726, Australia. E-mail: and Rodney A. Stewart, (corresponding author), (Sr. Lect., School of Engrg., Griffith Univ., P.O. Box 50 GCMC QLD 9726, Australia E-mail:

Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, Vol. 133, No. 3, May/June 2007, pp. 210-217, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: Many water authorities, both nationally and internationally, have been forced to rethink their strategies for achieving water balance as a result of growing water demands, droughts, reduced no-failure yields, and environmental sustainability considerations. In particular, regulatory bodies in Australia are demanding that water managers exhaust network management efficiencies before considering new water source options (e.g., dams, desalination, pipelines, etc.). Demand management incentive schemes in conjunction with water recycling and pressure and leakage management (PLM) initiatives are a few examples of least-cost planning strategies being adopted by water authorities to achieve water balance without expanding the water infrastructure asset requirements. Potential benefits of PLM strategies have been predicted by these authorities worldwide in areas such as deferred capital works, reduced corrective maintenance, reduced treatment costs, energy savings, reduced reclaimed water discharges, and improvements to customer service. However, justification for PLM options remains difficult due to the limited amount of quantified evidence for most of the above-mentioned benefits over an urban water system’s life cycle. As the first stage in the development of a holistic PLM decision support system, this paper quantifies the benefits derived from a PLM strategy in a trial area located on the Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia. The results of the trial provide evidence to support claims that PLM can reduce water consumption and the frequency of infrastructure failures if implemented throughout the entire Gold Coast City. Furthermore, the research concludes that PLM impacts on the total water cycle and has broad implications for ensuring the future sustainability of potable water services.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Municipal water
Water pipelines
Water shortage
Water resources
Sustainable development