Porto ends 2022 with historic numbers in the fight against water waste

  • Article


Porto is one of the municipalities in Portugal that wastes less water, registering an index of Non-Revenue Water of 13,4% in 2022. The city has the best performance in a national level and positions itself as a reference in loss management.

The achieved result corresponds to less than half of the national figure that, according to the Water and Waste Services Regulation Authority, stands at about 30% with 45 municipalities of the country losing more than 50%. The number 13,4% achieved in last year means an improvement of 1,4 percentage points, in relation to the 14,8% registered in 2021. This numbers contribute to define the cost of the water supply in the city, which is one of the lowest in the municipalities of the Porto Metropolitan Area.

“We achieved in 2022 the lowest number ever regarding non-revenue water, a tendency that has been actually registered in previous years. In the context we live in, where water scarcity is becoming a reality, avoiding the daily waste of thousands of cubic meters of water, is something that we should be proud of”, states the vice-mayor of the Porto City Hall, Filipe Araújo.

In effect, the numbers are expressive when considering the daily water savings, that are almost 8000 m3. Lately, the accumulated savings with water efficiency measures, represent 84,3 million euros, apart from its relevance in sustainability for the whole city. The bet and investments made by Águas e Energia do Porto in the fight against waste, explain, to a large extent, these indicators and place Porto in the restricted centre of municipalities which quality of service is considered “excellent”.

Municipality invests in the active investigation of leaks

Integrated in a global strategy, the Programme of Management and Reduction of Non-Revenue Water consists of the monitorisation, in real time, of the entire public network through more than 340 pieces of equipment and latest sensor technology, joined by analysis platforms, artificial intelligence and machine learning to support the management and decision. Innovation and technology are united with the knowledge and experience of collaborators in the municipal company, for example, in the teams specialised in “sounding out”.

Note that, in a municipal system with more than 80 controlled areas of supply, Águas e Energia do Porto has in the terrain, on a daily basis, specialised technicians in detection and early localisation of malfunction and leaks of water, allowing a quick and effective resolution. Only last year, the index of active investigations of water leakage was on 400%, as the technical teams covered the city approximately four times.

Of the total percentage of malfunctions and ruptures in the water supply network, almost 60% were detected by the teams of the municipal company, through sounding out and controlling the losses, given that 83% were fixed in the same day.

Infrastructure renewal improves quality of service

A plan to renew the water distribution infrastructure network is also underway, which includes the replacement of several pipes and reservoirs. This plan will avoid possible ruptures and ensure the maintenance of the excellent quality of the water that reaches the taps of all citizens of Porto.

One of the strategies implemented by the municipality last year, which consists of a continuous contract for intervention in priority infrastructures, allowed the renovation of three kilometres of pipes, contributing to reduce water losses and environmental waste. In parallel, 22,350 meters were replaced, about 14% of the installed number of meters, which also contributes directly to the results. It should be noted that more than half of the company's customers (61%) already have a telemetric meter.

The ongoing work plan to combat water waste ensures the safety, reliability and sustainability of the municipal system and is in line with the sustainability policies that the municipality has been implementing. "Water is a precious and increasingly scarce commodity, as we all felt during the drought that marked last year. Therefore, we are all responsible for the preservation of this essential resource. In Porto, we work daily, through several actions gathered in the Porto Climate Pact, to build a more sustainable city adapted to climate change", concludes Filipe Araújo.