Water loss occurs when water escapes from the water supply distribution system before it reaches a customer. The total amount of water lost through leakage may seem small; however, this loss is very costly to municipal governments and other organizations that provide water systems. In fact, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), about seven billion gallons per day of treated water are lost nationwide. This is enough to provide drinking water for the entire city of Los Angeles!
Water loss causes severe economic, environmental, and public health impacts. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers ("ASCE"), over $2 billion per year is wasted on leaking pipes in our nation's water distribution systems. The EPA also reports that two to three trillion gallons per year are lost due to water distribution system leakage in the United States. The environmental impacts of this loss are well documented by water quality experts; however, it is difficult to measure how much economic value has been lost. Losses also impact our public health since leaking pipes pose a potential threat for contamination.
Water systems contain a great deal of infrastructure, such as storage tanks, pumping stations, and piping networks. The average diameter of water mains in the United States is 12 inches; however, some are as large as 96 inches. Since there are an estimated 1 to 2 million miles of water infrastructure across the country — enough pipe to wrap around the earth one and one-third times — there are many opportunities for water loss.
Since excessive leakage is detrimental to the economy, environment, and public health of the community, municipal governments (and other water suppliers) should take proactive measures to manage this problem with a focus on reducing water loss. Water systems must use leak detection strategies throughout the water distribution system in order to be able to track water loss, estimate the total leakage volume, and diagnose specific problems that cause water loss. In order to design an effective program for managing water loss, a city must have accurate information regarding how much water is being lost from their distribution system each day.
Practicing water conservation for our limited water resources and reducing water consumption through simple conservation efforts can also help with water loss.
Regular leak detection surveys are an important part of water loss control programs. When designing a sustainable water management plan for your community, consider taking the following steps:
Well-managed water supply systems conduct regular water loss surveys that focus on water loss reduction and preventing larger issues, like water main breaks.
GPRS has specialized equipment such as acoustic leak detection (leak detection correlators) and robotic crawlers with video cameras to inspect all types of water supply systems. We offer regular water loss surveys and water loss audits for water suppliers to prevent water loss and improve water efficiency. Talk to us today about routine water loss surveys to prevent costly water loss and manage your water supply system properly.