Stainless steel water supply pipeline: a reliable solution to water leakage and water quality problems

Water leakage is a global problem. According to data from the World Bank and OECD:

  • The daily loss of water in developing countries due to water leakage is approximately 45 million cubic meters – enough for nearly 200 million people;
  • After the water produced by the water company is exported from the treatment plant, more than 25% is not actually used by consumers, that is, it is not included in consumer bills and becomes non-revenue water (NRW);
  • The amount of non-revenue water in some cities is as high as 70%;
  • The annual loss of non-revenue water is about 14 billion U.S. dollars.

Water leakage on such a large scale is unsustainable. Water leakage has caused a water resource crisis in many parts of the world. Some cities are now close to the edge of water depletion.

Most of the unprofitable water is due to water leakage. Up to 95% of the water leakage occurs in the water supply pipeline connecting the users and the main water supply line. Because of water leakage, water companies have to produce 1/3 more water to ensure water supply. Therefore, more water treatment devices, more pump stations, more chemicals and more electricity consumption are needed. The key is that more water is needed to meet the water supply demand. It is very important to solve the problem of water resources waste and cost burden, and to prevent water leakage, especially to prevent the recurrence of leakage.

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Water demand is expected to exceed water supply by 40% by 2030. If we want to alleviate the imminent water shortage, we must change the situation.

The best time has come to solve this global problem

Safe, long-term solution

Water leakage mainly occurs in water supply pipeline. Water supply pipes are usually made of plastic, galvanized steel, copper or lead (in the past), which are prone to damage under the action of corrosion, crustal movements, earthquakes and extreme temperatures, especially at pipe connections.
Stainless steel exhibits excellent corrosion resistance in a variety of soils and conditions. It is not only strong but also tough, which means it will bend without breaking. It can bear the pressure exerted by the surrounding soil, the weight of a large number of people and vehicles, and even resist the impact of earthquake.
Stainless steel has good stability in water and is very hygienic, so it can safely transport high-quality drinking water, and it is also suitable for all kinds of water quality. Because the stainless steel is elastic, it also prevents chemical and bacterial contaminants from entering the water through pipe cracks when the main pressure drops and the hydraulic integrity is lost.
Stainless steel has excellent performance and long service life, which can greatly improve the water supply condition, reduce the cost and save water resources.

Flexible and reliable solutions

Advantages of flexible stainless steel pipe:

  • Easy to install;
  • The processing performance is good;
  • Fast installation and connection and low training requirements;
  • Less joints can reduce water leakage;
  • Anti seismic impact and land subsidence;
  • The fittings can be adapted to the main distribution saddle and water meter.

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Two cases

Tokyo almost achieved zero leakage rate

  • In 1980, the Tokyo Water Authority launched a project to replace leaking lead pipes with stainless steel pipes. In the first five years of the project, the water leakage rate dropped by 20%, which prompted the water authority to implement plans to retrofit stainless steel water supply pipes for all residential buildings.
  • In 2004, almost all water supply pipes in Tokyo have been replaced with 316 stainless steel pipes. In addition, with the improvement of water leakage detection, the acceleration of repair speed and the introduction of ductile iron water supply main pipe, the water leakage rate of Tokyo decreased from 15.4% in 1980 to 2.2% in 2013. During the same period, the number of repairs per year decreased from 57970 to 9774.
  • In 2011, Tokyo’s annual water saving was 240 million cubic meters, and the corresponding carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 54000 tons compared with the 1980 level, saving hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

Examples of drought relief in Taiwan

  • The rate of water leakage in Taipei is more than 28%. The severe drought in 2002 interrupted the water supply in the city for more than a month. In view of this, the Taipei Water Bureau implemented a plan in 2003 to reduce the water leakage rate, including replacing the water supply pipeline with 316 stainless steel pipe.
  • From 2003 to 2014, about 35% of the water supply pipelines in Taipei were replaced by corrugated stainless steel pipes. NRW decreased from 27% to 17%, saving about 146 million cubic meters of water each year.
  • Due to the drought in 2002, the water supply in Taipei was more effective than that in 2014.
  • As part of the demonstration project of overall water loss control strategy in Taipei, pipeline replacement in Taipei has been proved to be the most effective way to solve water problem.

Questions & Answers

What is the cost of stainless steel pipes during their service life?

The initial cost of stainless steel is similar or lower than other metals. Because stainless steel is durable, it can be used for more than 100 years without repair or replacement. Compared with plastic, the initial installation cost of stainless steel is about 10% higher. However, even if the plastic pipe is replaced only once in 100 years without considering the loss caused by the interruption, its cost will be 70% higher than that of stainless steel.

Why is stainless steel so much better than other low-cost pipes?

316 stainless steel is durable, flexible, corrosion-resistant, hygienic and requires no maintenance. Because it is both flexible and strong, it is much more resistant to damage caused by earthquakes, vibrations of people and traffic, and accidental movement. Stainless steel is easily resistant to pressure changes and frost resistance, and has been used in many aspects of the water supply system. The use of stainless steel pipes will enable most of the water supply infrastructure to benefit from the excellent use characteristics of stainless steel.

What is the quality of water supplied by stainless steel pipes?

Stainless steel is inactive, which means it will not react with water or chemicals like other materials. It is a sanitary solution that can guarantee the quality of drinking water. Stainless steel will not react with chemicals used for disinfection, thus ensuring the highest water quality at the lowest disinfection cost.

What are the benefits to consumers? Can it reduce customer complaints?

Stainless steel is durable and can minimize use interruption and traffic interruption, thereby reducing customer complaints. Moreover, stainless steel does not release chemicals, which can guarantee water quality. Lower leakage rate and repair costs mean lower total cost of water supply, thereby reducing water price pressure.

What is the failure rate of stainless steel pipes compared with other pipes?

Stainless steel pipes can be used for at least 100 years without cracking or bursting. Failure of stainless steel pipes is extremely rare.

How long does it take to install this stainless steel pipe?

The installation of some corrugated stainless steel water pipes and accessories is very simple, without welding. The connection is fast, the installation time is similar to the shortest connection time of other water pipe materials, and the completed structure is very strong, so stainless steel has become the best choice overall.

Can the replacement be completed quickly?

Can. As the corrugated pipe is used, it can adapt to the groove as long as it is bent, which can overcome any obstacles or depth changes between the main pipe and the water meter.

What size pipes are available?

The pipes are standardized, with nominal diameters ranging from 13 to 50 millimeters and a maximum length of 4 meters.

How to connect the pipe to the water meter and the main pipe?

In Asia, a water diversion saddle is installed on the top of the main pipe and the pipe is connected to the water diversion saddle and the water meter through press fittings. All accessories are made of 316 stainless steel except for the ductile iron base of the water diversion saddle used to tighten the dry pipe.

Source: China Stainless Steel Pipe Manufacturer – Yaang Pipe Industry Co., Limited (

(Yaang Pipe Industry is a leading manufacturer and supplier of nickel alloy and stainless steel products, including Super Duplex Stainless Steel Flanges, Stainless Steel Flanges, Stainless Steel Pipe Fittings, Stainless Steel Pipe. Yaang products are widely used in Shipbuilding, Nuclear power, Marine engineering, Petroleum, Chemical, Mining, Sewage treatment, Natural gas and Pressure vessels and other industries.)

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