Civil Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 4-15-2019


Many water utilities lose significant amounts of treated water (and the revenue that does with it) through pipe breaks or undetected leaks in their underground distribution networks. To help utilities understand their water loss, the American Water Works Association developed a Water Audit Software program which calculates lost volumes and system performance indicators based on input supplied by the water utility.

To make the Water Audit Software a more useful tool for a greater number of utilities and the states that mandate auditing, additional fields should be added to the Water Audit Software to collect data about system pipe materials, main line breaks categorized by pipe material, and their average break isolation and repair times. This data should be used to calculate two new PIs: 1) a dimensionless Break Rate Index (BRI) which compares system main line break data to published national break averages, and 2) a dimensionless Repair Time Index (RTI) that compares system main break repair time averages to best practice repair times.

Including the BRI and RTI in the audit will identify slow repair times and the types of pipe in a system that have the highest failure rates, thereby providing utilities with immediately useful, actionable information upon the completion of the audit that can be used to improve the distribution system and reduce real water loss. It would also result in the creation of a large-scale main break and repair data set that could be used by local, regional and/or national authorities to develop utility standards.


water loss, main breaks, auditing, performance metrics, repair time

Document Type




Degree Name

Civil Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Civil Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Kerry J. Howe

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jose M. Cerrato

Third Committee Member

Heather Himmelberger, PE