Italian utility reduces water loss by 30% with pressure management



To reduce water losses in one of its networks, an Italian utility installed the Grundfos Demand Driven Distribution controller to monitor and adjust the pressure continually all the way to the end of the line. The result was a 30% reduction in losses and 17% energy savings.


The situation

The water company in Montodine, Italy was losing water and using more energy than necessary in its local distribution grid. It was looking for a way to bring down the overall pressure and increase its system’s efficiency.

With a total network of supply pipes covering 10.3 km, the Montodine water supply system serves 6,580 inhabitants and includes the nearby towns of Credera, Moscazzano, Ripalta Arpina and Ripalta Guerina. Approximately 275,000 kWh of energy is used to distribute roughly 670,000 m3 of water annually.

The system draws water from two wells. It has a purification plant with filters at a rated pressure of 180 m3/h, two reinforced concrete storage tanks with a capacity of 240 m3 each, and two Grundfos booster sets controlled by Hydro MPC units with an external frequency converter for each pump. 

Padania Acque Gestione S.p.A. is the water supply company responsible for the Montodine water supply system. The company is a joint stock company wholly owned by the town councils in the province of Cremona and the Cremona provincial government. It supplies 330,000 residents in 111 towns with 30 million m3 of water a year.

“Padania Acque Gestione is constantly seeking to improve efficiency and this is also achieved with the use of Grundfos pumps,” says Sergio Vicari, System Designer at Padania Acque Gestione. “Most of the 300 surface pumps are vertical Grundfos CR pumps of varying power levels. They are controlled by Grundfos units equipped with external frequency converters. They have kept pace with technological developments over the years, ranging from the initial Hydro 2000 units to the current Hydro MPC units.”

The main issue with the water supply system was related to the supply pressure. One of the towns recently connected to the system, Ripalta Guerina, presented Padania Acque Gestione with a problem. Parts of the town’s pipe network were of a smaller cross-section, and this meant that it was not possible to reduce the pressure in the pipes in proportion to the flow supplied – an operation that is usually performed with the Hydro MPC units.

The result was less overall system efficiency and the objective of Padania Acque Gestione was to overcome this and increase system efficiency.


The solution

Following extensive consultation, Grundfos engineers found a solution using the Grundfos Demand Driven Distribution controller.

Using pressure transducers known as XiLog units at the ends of the water distribution network, pressure values are measured and sent to the Demand Driven Distribution controller via a GSM network. The controller ensures optimum pressure, and by gradually ramping-up and ramping-down pressure avoids sudden momentum changes in the pipes, reducing water hammer and thereby water loss. 

Sergio Vicari explains the solution as follows: “The XiLog unit was fitted to an end section on the Ripalta Guerina water network, whereas at Montodine the Demand Driven Distribution controller was installed on the existing Hydro MPC unit that controls four CR64-3-1 15 kW pumps. We arrived at this solution, because Grundfos took the time to present to us the benefits of the Demand Driven Distribution controller and showed how it can increase system efficiency.”


The outcome

After about three months of experimentation, the results are encouraging, and Padania Acque Gestione is satisfied. In order to ensure the optimum pressure on the load placed on the terminals, the starting pressure – which previously had to be maintained at about 6.0 bars – was reduced automatically by the system to the current average values of about 4.2 bars, with peaks up to 5.3 bars. The pressure recorded on the terminal by the XiLog unit has remained steady at around 3.0 bars, without any limitation of service to users. In parallel, the overall efficiency of the system has increased from about 0.4 kWh per m3 to the current 0.34 kWh per m3.

Thanks to the newly installed controller, the estimated annual savings are projected to be approximately 47,000 kWh, which equates to a savings of about EUR 7,500/year - or 17% per year.

Based on an initial evaluation carried out on the minimum night flow rates, Grundfos estimates a reduction in real losses of about 25,000 m3/year, which in terms of the total losses of the distribution system result in a reduction of approximately 30%.

Padania aims to further reduce the pressure on the terminal to 2.5 bars through the future installation of a second XiLog unit in another part of the distribution network.



Water supply pressure management


Google Map

Montodine, Italy


Padania Acque Gestione

When the Montodine pump house introduced the Demand Driven Distribution pressure control on its water network, the controller reduced the overall pressure from a constant 6 bars to between 3.0-4.2 bars, saving water and energy.


XiLog sensor

Mauro Busseti checks the XiLog sensor at the end of the water line in Ripalta Guerina. The sensor monitors water pressure and sends the information back to the Demand Driven Distribution controller in Montodine, ensuring optimum pressure in real time as it is needed.


Mauro Busseti inspects water from the Montodine well.



If you need a similar solution, please contact us for further information.


If you need a similar solution, please contact us for further information.

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