Water distribution system (WDS) pipe bursts are caused from excessive pressure, pipe aging, and ground shift from temperature change and earthquake. Prompt detection of and response to the failure event help prevent large-scale service interruption and catastrophic sinkhole generation. To that end, this study proposes a improved Western Electric Company (WECO) method to improve the detection effectiveness and efficiency of the original WECO method. The original WECO method is an univariate Statistical Process Control (SPC) technique used for identifying any non-random patterns in system output data. The improved WECO method multiples a threshold modifier (w) to each threshold of WECO sub-rules in order to control the sensitivity of anomaly detection in a water distribution network of interest. The Austin network was used to demonstrated the proposed method in which normal random and abnormal pipe flow data were generated. The best w value was identified from a sensitivity analysis, and the impact of measurement frequency (dt = 5, 10, 15 min etc.) was also investigated. The proposed method was compared to the original WECO method with respect to detection probability, false alarm rate, and averaged detection time. Finally, this study provides a set of guidelines on the use of the WECO method for real-life WDS pipe burst detection.