As water is one of the most valuable natural resources and commodities in the world, water losses represent a serious international problem. Especially within the specific geographic and climatic context of the Mediterranean, particular attention needs to be paid to water resources in order to safeguard a sustainable future water supply in the times of climate change.
Today, water resources are increasingly stressed due to climate change and growing populations. Scarcity of water is identified as a major area weakness in the MED OP’s SWOT analysis. To guarantee sufficient quantities of good quality water, water utilities must become efficient throughout the entire supply process. But more than 45 billion m3 of water are lost through leakage corresponding to an average 35% of supplied water, and this amount increases with other losses such as illegal connections, badly operated water meters, etc. An estimate of the total additional annual cost to water utilities worldwide, due to this Non Revenue Water (NRW), is about 10 billion Euros. Saving just half of this amount would supply water to an additional 200 million people without any further investment. From the World Bank database it is apparent that the non-revenue water corresponds to about 12 b. m3 in developed countries, 10 b. m3 in European and Asian countries and 27 b. m3 in developing countries.
By employing improved methods of water auditing and loss control, water utilities have a potential to reduce the large volumes of treated water that are lost to leakage, as well as to provide incentives to customers to optimise their water consumption. Water Loss Control – water efficiency practices of water suppliers – is an emerging field of practice that should be better incorporated into the drinking water utility industry in order to ensure efficiency of safe drinking water.
The project’s main target is the development and demonstration of an integrated approach for monitoring and controlling water losses in drinking water supply systems. The project partners come from 6 EU countries (Greece, France, Cyprus, Slovenia, Spain and Italy). The project is co-funded by the MED Operational Programme and is coordinated by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece.