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March 13, 2009

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DRBC approves water loss control program

WEST TRENTON, NJ – The Delaware River Basin Commission announced voted to phase in a program requiring water suppliers to follow a revised water audit approach for identifying and controlling water loss in the Delaware River Basin.

“The commissioners believe this new water conservation approach offers an opportunity to improve water supply efficiency through a more advanced water loss accounting program,” Executive Director Carol Collier said. “This program will reduce water demand at the source, reduce treatment costs, improve system efficiency, and enhance purveyor revenue.”

An estimated 150 million gallons of treated and pressurized water is physically lost from public water supply distribution systems in the Delaware River Basin every day and current methods to account for, track, and reduce this loss are inadequate.

The purpose of the new rule is to phase in a program requiring water purveyors to perform a water audit and report their findings in accordance with a new audit structure established by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the International Water Association (IWA). The new method is widely regarded as superior to the existing approach that entails tracking “unaccounted-for water,” a very broad indicator which is no longer considered best practice.

The new water audit methodology provides a rational approach that will facilitate more consistent tracking and reporting than the existing approach allows, as well as furthers the commission’s water conservation program. It will help water managers and regulators, including the DRBC, state agencies, and utility managers, target their efforts to improve water supply efficiency, thereby reducing water withdrawals.

Because this water audit approach is relatively new in a regulatory context, the regulations approved yesterday call for phased implementation. Through 2011, DRBC will promote the voluntary use of the IWA/AWWA water audit program. During this period, information will be gathered from within the basin and nationwide to assist in the establishment of performance indicators for water loss, which ultimately will replace the existing “unaccounted-for water” targets. Water purveyors will be required to perform an annual water audit conforming to the IWA/AWWA methodology beginning in calendar year 2012.

“DRBC will make every effort to contact all water systems subject to the new water audit regulation and plans to hold workshops for system operators during the phase-in period,” Collier said. 

Additional information, including a link to the free water audit software, can be found on the commission’s web site at www.drbc.net.

 


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