Water scarcity is one of the major challenges of our age. Fresh water use has risen rapidly over the last century, rising six-fold since 1900 to reach some four trillion cubic meters per year by the early 21st century and yet the amount of freshwater available has not changed. 
Despite the high rainfall in the UK, we have no cause for complacency about our use of water. A staggering 3.2 million cubic metres of water a day, escapes through leaks in the distribution network.
These enormous water losses must be replaced, treated and pumped again to maintain supplies to customers. This in turn uses more energy and resources, cutting the sustainability of water operations and leading to higher operating costs.
Utilities can take three general approaches to leakage management, classified as passive control, regular survey and leakage monitoring in zones or sectors.
Passive control is the least sophisticated strategy and in practice is a reaction to visible leaks reported by customers or spotted by the company’s staff.
The second strategy of regular surveys involves listening for leaks on pipework and fittings or taking readings of flow rates to identify high-volume night flows. High water consumption at night would suggest a burst or leak.
Leakage monitoring is a strategy of monitoring the flows into defined zones or districts to measure leakage and prioritise maintenance.
Traditional mechanical meters do not offer the accuracy needed and cannot cope with the low flows seen at night. By contrast, electromagnetic flowmeters offer improved accuracy over a far superior range of flows. In fact, modern meters could even detect a toilet flushing.