31 Oct 2014

Bleg: The history of non-revenue water as a concept?

TL emails:
I am looking for someone who can help me track the history and evolution of NRW as a concept/methodology. Any ideas who I could talk to?

I have read a lot of general and context specific reports and done an embedded interview study with a water utility, but I have never found an expert who could articulate the concepts' institutional foundations. Any ideas?


Tim said...

Thanks David for posting my request.


Dear Dr David Zetland, Professor GS Sastry, formerly working at the ISEC (Institute for social and Economic Change, Bangalore) worked on Non revenue water, which he called as Water Unaccounted for. In Bangalore city, he estimated this NRW (WUF) to be around 40%, even though Bangalore has almost 100% metering and the users pay almost the highest water rate in South Asia. He is now retired and ISEC my know his address.
MG Chandrakanth, UAS Bangalore

Wayne Lusvardi said...

In California, see the Appellate Court case Griffith vs. Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency wherein "stormwater" was redefined to also be "non-revenue water" available for public landscaping of public parks, cemeteries, freeway buffers, and greenbelts.

Related legislation is California Assembly Bill 2403 passed in 2014.

Also see "Calculating System Development Charges for Stormwater Facilities" at


For comparison of costs of nonrevenue stormwater capture with other ways of water conservation and production see City of Pasadena, California Integrated Water Resource Plan 2011


Tim Lehmann said...

It might be the case that the concept is more known and used as "unaccounted for water".

For example, the journal Utilities Policy mentioned both notions for the first time in a 2003 issue, actually in the same paper http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0957178703000341

Until today, the notion "unaccounted for water" has 18 hits compared to 8, in the same journal.

Most interestingly though, in my opinion, is a 2008 paper in the same journal that "Does service quality matter in measuring the performance of water utlities" uses UFW as a single variable to measure for quality of utilities and argues that UFW has been employed as a proxy for the quality of water services in several studies, citing studies from 2001 that does not use the notion UFW or NRW but just speak of "losses".


Wikipedia on the other hand uses the notion NRW, and makes a technical distinction between NRW and UFW, that s it. The Wikipedia site refers to a 1996 article that is titled: "UFW more than just leaks" - sounds like an interesting hint that there was some turn with regard to the concept/problem. Shifting from a technial notion "leaks" to an economic notion "UFW".

A search on Sciencedirect on UFW results in 147 hits, the oldes entry from dating back to 1978; and for NRW 73 hits dating back to 1998.

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.