How Do We Achieve Zero Leakage in a Sustainable Way by 2050?

UKWIR Big Question

The “Zero Leakage” programme, which is part of UKWIR’s “Big Questions” programme, is being developed in phases. In Phase 1, universities and consultants were engaged to investigate the current state of knowledge in each of five subject areas, namely:

  1. Basic mechanisms of bursts and leakage 
  2. Leak detection and location methods
  3. Leak repair methods
  4. Laying leak-free new networks
  5. Water accounting and quantification

The objective of this phase was to determine the following for each of the five areas:

  • What research and development has been done?
  • What research and development is currently in progress?
  • What are the gaps, and therefore what new research and development needs to be done to facilitate the path towards zero leakage?

This phase of research has been completed. The outputs and recommendations from it can be found in the following reports:  

  • Achieving Zero Leakage by 2050: Basic Mechanisms of Bursts and Leakage... basic mechanisms that control bursts and leakage; these typically stem from the materials that are used in the various UK water networks and the manner in which they degrade over time (click here)
  • Achieving Zero Leakage by 2050: Leak Detection and Location Methods - Acoustic Leak Detection;... research related to detection and location methods which exploit acoustics and/or vibration in some form is addressed (click here)
  • Achieving Zero Leakage by 2050: Leakage Detection and Location - Non-acoustic Methods ... focuses on non-acoustic methods of leak detection and location. (click here)
  • Achieving Zero Leakage by 2050: Leak Repair Techniques... leak repair techniques and in particular no-dig solutions to water leakage. (click here)
  • Achieving Zero Leakage by 2050: Laying Leak Free New Networks... identify the issues contributing to high leakage rates, changes to current installation practices / techniques to facilitate laying leak-free new networks (click here)
  • Achieving Zero Leakage by 2050: Water Accounting and Quantification Methods... current sector knowledge in the UK and overseas relating to the quantification of leakage and all factors which comprise the reported Leakage KPI. (click here)

Following this work, we have developed a research map and identified a number of possible projects for a second phase of work.

If you think you can help us with this second phase of research, or you have other research ideas to offer, we would be pleased to hear from you. Please contact us at:

Upcoming Meetings

  • Cryptosporidium Stakeholders Workshop
     Wed 20 February 2019 10:00
  • WW02B209, Research, Planning and Management with UKWIR’s Source Apportionment Modelling System
     Thu 21 February 2019 09:45
  • Catchment Management for Water Quality and Quantity
     Tue 26 February 2019 10:00
  • Achieving Zero Leakage by 2050: Phase 2: Understanding the balance between customer use, supply pipe leakage and plumbing losses in water delivered to household properties
     Wed 27 February 2019 10:00
  • DBP follow on project
     Thu 28 February 2019 13:00