Providing safe, reliable access to clean water is a major challenge for utilities around the world, considering roughly 12 billion gallons of water are lost every day globally. While many utilities are aware of the importance of reducing Non-Revenue Water (NRW), doing so can be a challenge. The World Bank estimates that NRW costs utilities worldwide about US$14 billion every year. By reducing these losses by half in areas with the highest NRW, it is estimated that US$2.9 billion would be generated and an additional 90 million people would have access to water.

Although there are many factors that contribute to NRW, one of the most significant causes is leakage of aging water pipelines. Much of the water infrastructure around the world is aging and reaching the end of its design life, leading to a greater number of leaks and pipe ruptures. While these occur most frequently on small-diameter distributions mains, leaks and ruptures on large-diameter transmission mains are a much bigger concern for utility operators.

Leaks on transmission mains often account for a much higher percentage of the total water lost from leakage than leaks in the distribution system. This is primarily because trunk mains carry water at a much higher capacity and operating pressure than distribution pipelines, but also because the lower frequency of trunk main leaks means many of these problems aren’t’ being identified for long periods of time.

Through the implementation of a proactive and regular leak detection program focusing on large-diameter transmission mains, utilities can greatly reduce their water losses while identifying leaks that could eventually lead to pipe failure. To help utilities with their leak detection programs, Pure offers two inline solutions that can locate pinhole-sized leaks within 6 feet (1.8 meters).

Inline solutions are more effective than non-invasive methods for identifying leaks on transmission mains, as the leak detection sensor is brought directly to the leak location. To learn more about Pure’s inline solutions and see examples of successful leak detection programs, visit the links below.


Smart ball

SmartBall ®

SmartBall® is an innovative free-swimming inspection technology designed to operate in a live pipeline. It is a free-swimming foam ball with an instrument-filled aluminum alloy core capable of detecting and locating very small leaks, gas pockets and structural defects in pipelines.




Sahara® leak detection is a tethered system that provides real-time leak information in live pipelines. It also has live video to provide pipeline operators with a visual of internal pipe conditions.