Cost–Benefit Analysis of Leakage Reduction Methods in Water Supply Networks

Suvi Ahopelto, Riku Vahala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
101 Downloads (Pure)


Reducing water loss from water supply systems is often regarded as one of the most important ways to improve the resource efficiency of water supply services. However, the costs and impacts of water loss reduction efforts need to be weighed against the benefits to define the optimal water loss target level. To this end, we conducted a cost–benefit analysis of three investment-based leakage reduction methods: district metering, pressure reduction, and pipe renovations. Furthermore, we conducted uncertainty and sensitivity analysis to determine the most relevant data for leakage analysis and policymaking on a national level. The results indicate that water loss management might not be directly cost-beneficial to utilities operating with moderate leakage levels. Neither leakage percentage nor the Infrastructure Leakage Index (ILI) were suitable for leakage target setting for the Finnish utilities. The costs of investing in district metering or renovations were the most influential factors in the sensitivity analysis, but the results showed that the estimated values were sufficiently accurate for assessing leakage policies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number195
Number of pages15
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • water loss
  • leakage reduction
  • infrastructure leakage index
  • economic level of leakage
  • district metering
  • pressure reduction
  • renovations


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