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Detecting leaks in water networks

"We have requested from Cemagref an evaluation of the physical installations in distribution networks and of the economic consequences of strategies for their preventive maintenance and rehabilitation", says Stéphane Garnaud, a Water planning and technologies manager.

"As part of the effort, we are financing a pilot study just launched by Cemagref with a semi-rural intercommunal structure on the outskirts of Périgueux (Dordogne, France)". The study, in each geographic sector, on the volume of leaks throughout the distribution network will enable researchers to improve their knowledge on the causes of leaks (types of materials, installation dates and techniques, etc.).

"The idea is to create indicators to calculate network losses, set priorities for repair work and propose solutions to reduce water losses that are realistic in technical and economic terms", notes Stéphane Garnaud.

In addition, at the request of the Ecology ministry, Onema and Cemagref are currently working on an action plan to assist suppliers of drinking water in drawing up an inventory of their network equipment and in setting up a work programme when water losses are excessive. This plan is based on an assessment of the necessary inventories and the preparation of a technical guide on how to carry out inventories. The guide will be drafted together with all the stakeholders in the field, i.e. local governments, network operators and construction companies.

"The data collected on the 12 000 water departments, based in the Observatory on water and sanitation services now being set up by Onema, will enable us to set goals and target loss thresholds, depending on a service typology", indicates Sylvain Rotillon, a Public water and sanitation services manager.


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