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Aging water distribution infrastructure and a growing population puts strain on water networks, causing over-pressurised or faulty pipes, which in turn, create non-revenue water. This is a significant challenge for utilities, but reducing water pressure is one of the key ways to minimise this water loss.

Retrofitting existing water networks with modern pressure management systems is providing a solution to the loss of precious water resources, as utilities such as Italy’s IRETI have found.

Non-revenue water (NRW) is water that is lost before it reaches the customer, and is the difference between the volume of water input into a distribution system, and the volume billed to consumers.

Over-pressurising the flow of water through utility systems, often to support growing populations, creates a higher demand on networks, and leads to the accelerated aging of piping and fittings.

Studies have shown that reducing the pressure in a water network by 25 per cent can cut water losses by up to 75 per cent. Proactive pressure management solutions, such as the polymer NeoFlow pressure regulating valve (PRV) from GF Piping Systems, can provide a much needed solution to help solve NRW.

IRETI: committed to improvement

IRETI provides integrated water services for approximately 2.7 million people in almost 300 municipalities in north western Italy, supplying a network of around 20,000km in length.

Italy’s water loss reaches an average of 37 per cent across the country, so IRETI is only too aware of the challenges posed by NRW. IRETI is constantly looking for reliable products to tackle water loss at the source and preserve precious water resources.

Antonio Gualtieri (left), technical manager for water leakage detection at IRETI, and Marco Alberti, sales manager at GF piping systems Italy, fine-tuning the pressure regulating valve.

Marco Alberti, Sales Manager at GF Piping Systems Italy, said, “Challenges include unstable pressure due to rapid changes in consumption, and high- pressure differences across valves.”

GF introduced NeoFlow, a polymer pressure-regulating valve, to the company two years ago in Reggio Emilia, with the experts from IRETI particularly impressed by its simplicity and innovative design.

They later participated in a pilot at an independent, certified laboratory in Nantes, France, which enabled them to see the product in action and its capabilities, including precise and stable flow control.

IRETI has now been using the GF pressure valves in its water network for a year, finding that the enhanced pressure stability guarantees consistent and reliable water distribution for both day and night, and reduces mechanical stresses caused by pressure variation.

Antonio Gualtieri, Technical Manager for Water Leakage Detection at IRETI, confirms its effectiveness. “Thanks to pressure management, we have been able to achieve a 63 per cent reduction in pipe bursts,” Mr Gualtieri said.

The light and compact design makes the neoflow easy to install.

Solving problems through innovation

The NeoFlow PRV has a simple axial flow design with a lightweight, corrosion-free polymer body, and is less prone to cavitation damage.

The NeoFlow has only three primary components (with no actuator stem or diaphragm) and a single moving part, with these innovative features ensuring high reliability and a longer operational lifetime.

Polymer valves are also significantly easier and more cost-efficient to install and maintain than metal valves, which can fail if not regularly maintained. In addition, the space savings achieved with the compact design can be utilised to install instruments such as flow meters without modifying existing pipework.

 

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by Georg Fischer Piping Systems. For more information, visit gfps.com.

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