Pressure management is considered the single most beneficial, important and cost effective leakage management activity. Most pipe bursts occur not only because of high pressure, but rather due to ongoing pressure fluctuations forcing the pipes to continuously expand and contract, resulting in stress fractures.
There is a physical relationship between leakage flow rate and pressure: the higher or lower the pressure, the higher or lower the leakage.
Therefore, the aspiration should be to keep pressure at a minimum, without affecting the customers' needs. For example, based on needs there is just no point in maintaining the same high pressure during night-time as for day, where the need for water is naturally higher.
The most common and cost effective method is by the use of pressure reducing valves, reducing a high inlet pressure to a lower outlet pressure. By adding intelligence to the valves, the pressure in the zone can be adjusted according to real-time data collected at strategic points, thus adjusting to the demands. The pipe network is then protected from overload and stress, increasing the system lifetime and reducing the overall leakage rate.