American Society of Civil Engineers

Water Loss Levels from Transmission Mains in Urban Environments

by Cliff Jones, (The Pressure Pipe Inspection Company, 4700 Dixie Road, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada E-mail: and Kevin Laven, (The Pressure Pipe Inspection Company, 4700 Dixie Road, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada E-mail:
Section: Hydraulic Design, pp. 1-10, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Pipelines 2008: Pipeline Asset Management: Maximizing Performance of our Pipeline Infrastructure
Abstract: As aging water infrastructure and increasing water supply pressures become a fact of life in North American cities, attitudes towards leakage from water mains are changing. Water audits are becoming part of the standard operation of water utilities, and the volumes of treated water escaping from pipelines are coming under increased scrutiny. Most urban utilities now have leak detection programs to reduce leakage from their small diameter distribution mains. Until recently, however, the large diameter transmission mains have been largely overlooked, due to a lack of concrete data on how much water loss originates in these pipelines, and a lack of effective technologies for locating all leaks on such lines. New technologies engineered specifically for leak detection in large diameter water mains have now emerged on the market, and empirical data is available on actual leakage rates from large diameter mains in urban environments. This paper combines results obtained in Dallas, Philadelphia, Allentown, Montreal, and Toronto, and presents a discussion of the number of leaks, their volume, and their distribution, as well as a comparison to the expected results. Cost / benefit analysis will be presented as well when possible.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Water loss
Water levels
Water distribution systems
Urban areas