The correct definition of the leak law, i.e. the relationship between the leak outflow, the total head at the leak and other relevant parameters such as the pipe material, can seriously affect the accuracy of the numerical models used for the management of water distribution systems, either if they are used to forecast the leakage reduction by pressure management or to locate and size the leaks within an inverse analysis. In recent decades the use of the classical Torricelli or orifice equation has been questioned in the sense that some experimental results clearly demonstrated that the assumption of a leak outflow proportional to the square root of the head drop can yield unsatisfactory results. To investigate this behaviour, an experimental activity has been carried out at the Water Engineering Laboratory of the University of Perugia, Italy. Part of the results of the carried out tests are presented in this paper for a leak in a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe. Leak laws based on the assumption of a leak area variation with the pressure are compared and validated by strain measures close to the leak.

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