An estimated 78.6 million cubic metres of potable water, representing 21.6 per cent of the total output of desalinated and groundwater handled by Oman’s Public Authority for Water (Diam), remained unaccounted for in 2018.
Unaccounted for Water (UFW) —typically attributed to leaks in underground pipeline systems, metering errors and unbilled metres — represents a significant share of Diam’s revenues and is the subject of intensive mitigation efforts.
Those efforts helped bring down water losses linked to UFW from 24.3 per cent (equivalent to 98.3 million cubic metres) in 2017 to 21.6 per cent last year, according to Diam’s Executive Chairman, Mohammed bin Abdullah al Mahrouqi.
“The volume of accounted for water increased in 2018 by 14 per cent or by 36 million cubic metres compared to the previous year — a significant proportion of this increase was due to reduced physical losses due to improvements in leakage detection, pressure management in our networks and rehabilitation of poorly performing networks as well as better recording of water use in water filling stations, which led to the improvement of many performance indicators,” Al Mahrouqi stated in the newly published 2018 Annual Report of Diam.
For the last several years, the Public Authority for Water has pursued an energetic programme focusing on network management designed to reduce Unaccounted for Water (UFW) through the implementation of a number of
Notable measures include leak detections, reduction of reading errors at main bulk water meters, and installation of pressure reduction valves to modulate the pressure in the network, which in turn reduces leaks and makes the pipes less susceptible to ruptures.
In comparison, Unaccounted for Water (UFW) stood at an alarming 43.4 per cent of total output in 2010. An ongoing programme centring on the refurbishment and replacement of old pipeline networks contributed to water savings of around 8 million cubic metres last year, according to Diam. Pressure adjustment measures also reduced the volume of UFW by about 30 million cubic metres last year.
“At the residential consumer level we have also recently introduced a facility to test domestic water meters at site using mobile water meter testers in Bausher, Muttrah and Seeb wilayats in Muscat, with plans to roll out this service to the other regions in due course,” the Authority stated.
Of an estimated 364 million m3 of potable water produced in 2018, desalination plants accounted for around 315 million m3. The balance 49.4 million m3 came from wellfields operated and managed by Diam. Only around 79 per cent (273 million m3) of this total output was accounted for last year, generating revenues of RO 121.558 million, roughly on par with the previous year’s revenue of RO 121.872 million, according to the Authority.
“In spite of the improvements in the process of reading and billing meters in order to reduce unaccounted for water, we have not yet reached the desired goal but we will continue working to improve the procedures, performance and follow-up to improve reading and billing and collection in 2019,” the Executive Chairman added.