One of the greatest challenges of a city is to provide its inhabitants with safe, clean water from a limited fresh water supply. Improving the city’s water infrastructure efficiency, such as minimising leakages, reduces the strain put on the limited supply, which in turn, helps to ensure inhabitants gain access to clean and affordable water.
The water infrastructure of a city typically consists of components such as surface water diversions, wells, pumps, transmission pipes and canals, treatment and storage facilities, and distribution network elements (Burian et al.). Options for improving the efficiency of the system include investing in water loss reduction systems, creating and following a regular maintenance program, and better matching water supply and demand (Global Water Partnership).
Cities can improve the efficiency of their water system infrastructure by conducting a water audit, in which all water flows are traced and losses in the system are identified to map where the most efficiency improvements can be gained. Alongside this, asset management can be used to create a short-term and long-term strategy of investing in new equipment, refurbishing existing equipment and developing maintenance programmes to ensure infrastructure is as efficient as possible, and leaks are minimised. Such management programmes create financial transparency amongst all stakeholders and provide useful long-term planning for larger infrastructure changes (US EPA).