In 1996, as part of Waitakere Council’s Water Cycle Strategy, a pressure standardisation programme to permanently lower the average supply pressure citywide was implemented with the aim of reducing water loss and water use. The experience gained during the 1994/95 Auckland water shortage had confirmed that there was considerable scope to reduce pressures in many areas.

Since 1996 water pressures have been reduced in over 60% of the reticulated area of the city, with the average pressure reduced from 710 kPa to 540 kPa. As a result of this programme water loss from the network has been reduced, there has been a reduction in the frequency of mains breaks and it is likely that the life of water pipeline assets has been extended. Furthermore both pressure and demand management initiatives have reduced per capita water use in the city by more than 10%.

A network computer model was used as a design tool to check the network under various pressure regimes and cost benefit analyses were carried out for various design scenarios. Fire sprinkler systems were checked as part of the design process. Minimum service standards were not reduced and in some cases pressures were actually increased. This paper covers the various aspects of the design, the implementation and the results of the pressure standardisation programme.

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