Monday, September 10, 2012

Municipal Water Savings in Kansas

One of the very positive things done in Kansas is the state's effort to reduce and/or eliminate unaccounted for water use in our municipal and rural water district systems.  How do they do it?

It all begins with the state water plan and the overall goals expressed in this document for municipal water use.  According to the Water Conservation Section of the Plan (Volume I), the goal is expressed simply as follows:  "Reduce the number of public water suppliers with excessive “unaccounted for” water by first targeting those with 30 percent or more “unaccounted for” water."

The primary way this is done is via a contract between the Kansas Water Office (KWO) and the Kansas Rural Water Association (KRWA).  Basically the KRWA does water audits for cities and rural water districts in seeking leaks, meter discrepancies, unaccounted for water usage, and other supply problems.  The latest FY 2012 annual report is available (here) and contains the actual contract agreements and much more information about the arrangement. 

Last fiscal year (July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012) the KRWA worked 128 water loss surveys and detected 653 GPM of leaks.  This leak rate had lost 343,216,800 gallons of fresh water in the year before they were detected.  All this water saved for a mere $325,000.   

This contract has been in place since FY 1992, so over the past 21 years, a total 1,222 surveys have been completed, finding 9,211 GPM of leaks and water losses, equating to 4.841 Billion gallons of water waste eliminated.

Of course, it's a never ending fight.  Just because a 45 GPM leak is found and fixed in City A, doesn't mean a new leak won't manifest itself next year in the same city.  But the experience gained over the past 21 years and passed along to the municipal water suppliers of the state will surely keep them more vigilant and on the look-out for future leaks - which, by the way, are revenue robbers.  Those 9,211 GPM of leaks found over the past 21 years has taken over $10,694,000.00 of revenue from those cities.  And that cost doesn't even include the cost to the cities to pump, treat and deliver those leaking supplies.  I think it's a pretty good set-up.  

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