NRW can occur through physical losses from leaking and broken pipes, which are caused by poor operations and maintenance, the lack of active leakage control, and poor quality of underground assets.  NRW can also come from commercial losses caused by the under-registration of customer meters, data handling errors, illegal connections and theft.  Another cause of NRW is unbilled authorized consumption, which includes water used by utilities for operational purposes, water used for firefighting, and water provided for free to certain consumer groups. Reducing NRW can significantly improve the performance of developing country public water utilities.

PPIAF has been supporting several governments to help reduce NRW. Currently PPIAF has launched a program  for developing good performance-based contract (PBC) practices in the marketplace to to manage non-revenue water (NRW). It seeks to catalyze better practices in NRW PBCs. The program is implemented in partnership with the World Bank Group, the Inter-American Development Bank and the International Water Association.