Viability of Pressure-Reducing Valves for Leak Reduction in Water Distribution Systems

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Since water distribution systems are so important to public health and many are leaking in unknown locations, a modeling study was performed to investigate the feasibility of installing pressure-reducing valves (PRVs) in various locations throughout several systems. A PRV was tried in each pipe, one by one, and the total cost (energy costs plus opportunity costs of losing water that could have been sold) was calculated. It was found that installing a PRV in the upstream pipes reduced costs the most and that putting a PRV in some pipes actually lost money due to the high cost of the PRV and associated fittings. Also, a PRV on the upstream portion of a large branch saved water leakage. Energy is saved when a PRV is placed near a pump for systems with high energy consumption.

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Water Conservation Science and Engineering