Case Studies

WSO partners with utilities throughout the country to manage and reduce water losses. Here is a sample of extraordinary water utilities we’ve worked with:

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Water Loss Control Analysis and Program Design

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is the largest municipal utility in the United States. LADWP’s sheer size is paired with 15 inches of rain annually, making water a prized resource for the utility’s 8,600 employees and 4 million consumers. As a result, it’s important that the distribution system operate efficiently for both current ratepayers and future customers who will require a sustainable water supply.

To meet supply reliability and infrastructure management targets, LADWP hired WSO in 2012 to thoroughly dissect utility data sources, guide meter testing efforts, evaluate distribution system water loss, and design a cost-justified water loss control program. The effort looked at each water balance volume in depth, and in the process WSO and LADWP:

  • Evaluated system boundaries to select the most reliable and insightful supply meters (there were many to choose from at various points in the treatment and transmission process!)
  • Mined the billing database for insights into volumes billed, volumes missed, and suspicious accounts
  • Analyzed exports from the work order management system to evaluate leakage contained compared to leakage anticipated
  • Collected system pressure data to identify opportunities for pressure optimization
  • Designed a multi-year, cost-justified water loss management program

To support this effort, WSO and LADWP also built an organization-wide water loss control team that is now charged with managing water loss in perpetuity. LADWP’s water loss control task force now consists of more than 100 employees, and the group’s drive and success even won the American Academy of Environmental Engineers’ grand prize for planning.

Municipal Water District of Orange County

Regional Water Loss Control Program

MWDOC is well-known for its industry-leading conservation programs, but historically those conservation programs have all focused on end use. But in 2016, MWDOC established a regional supply-side efficiency program to encourage its member agencies to reduce costly water loss, employ industry best practices, and prepare for changing regulatory requirements.

MWDOC hired WSO to kick off the first five years of its regional water loss control program, and the program has been a resounding success. 30 of Orange County’s 31 agencies have participated in the program offerings, including:

  • Technical assistance with water audit compilation and validation, raw data analysis, component analysis of real and apparent loss, and proactive leak detection
  • Bimonthly workgroup meetings focused on education, capacity building, and peer dialogue
  • Shared services (e.g. customer meter testing)

The MWDOC program has grown each year. Now MWDOC is building a water loss control hub, in part through a Bureau of Reclamation grant that the MWDOC water loss control workgroup won. The hub will offer water audit validation, leak detection, customer meter testing, and pressure logging services to all Orange County agencies. Though Orange County is just getting started, the agencies have already set the bar for proactive engagement with water loss in California. The moral of the story: it’s amazing what can happen when a region pools resources to work together toward a shared efficiency goal.

California Senate Bill 555 Implementation

Statewide Water Loss Technical Assistance Program

In October 2015, the California State Senate passed bill 555 to require all retail urban water suppliers to report on distribution efficiency annually. The reports had to be delivered to the Department of Water Resources as level 1 validated AWWA water audits. Bill 555 also directs the State Water Resources Control Board to create water loss performance standards once a few years of data are collected.

One hurdle, though: many agencies had never compiled an AWWA water audit before, and no concerted validation effort had ever been pursued in California. To address this gap, WSO was hired to:

  • Teach best-practice water audit compilation and water loss control methodology to California utilities
  • Standardize level 1 water audit validation in California, in part through the publication of additional data validity grading guidance
  • Level 1 validate all water audits (about 400 in total) prior to submission
  • Make sure everyone gets across the regulatory finish line!

And so the Water Loss Technical Assistance Program was born. It was the first program of this type and scale ever offered, and California utilities stepped to the plate. All told, under WSO’s guidance, the Water Loss TAP offered:

  • 73 full-day educational workshops
  • 405 level 1 water audit validations
  • 1,500 utility employees trained in best-practice water audit methodology

The Water Loss TAP set the stage for making water conservation a California way of life. Now, the state will gather validated data on water loss from all retail urban water loss suppliers every year, laying the groundwork for justified investments in water loss control and improved supply and infrastructure management. WSO is proud to have supported sustainability in California, and we’re excited for the state’s water loss control future!

More Clients



  • Alliance for Water Efficiency


  • Cachuma Operations and Maintenance Board


  • City of Benicia


  • City of Buena Park


  • City of Folsom


  • City of Fountain Valley


  • City of La Habra


  • City of Orange


  • City of Santa Cruz


  • Commission on Water Resource Management


  • East Orange County Water District


  • Eastern Municipal Water District


  • Moulton Niguel Water District


  • Municipal Water District of Orange County


  • Placer County Water Agency


  • Santa Margarita Water District


  • South Coast Water District


  • Suisun Solano Water Authority


  • Water Research Foundation


  • Yuba City

Contact WSO

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