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Control and Mitigation of Drinking Water Losses in Distribution Systems

This guidance manual for the control and mitigation of drinking water losses in distribution systems was prepared by the Drinking Water Protection Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration in 2008.

Maintaining system infrastructure to deliver clean and safe drinking water to customers is often a significant challenge for the operators of public water systems (PWSs). In addition to the physical loss of water from the distribution system, water can be “lost” through unauthorized consumption (theft), administrative errors, data handling errors, and metering inaccuracies or failure.

This manual provides guidance for the development and implementation of a water loss control program can help identify and reduce actual water losses along with apparent losses resulting from metering, billing or accounting errors. Water loss control programs can potentially defer, reduce, or eliminate the need for a facility to expend resources on costly repairs, upgrades, or expansions. A water loss control program will also protect public health through reduction in potential entry points of disease-causing pathogens.