Water Loss from Texas Water Suppliers



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Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter


Due to water leaks, inaccurate meters, and theft, between ten and fourteen percent of the water produced by Texas water utilities is unaccounted-for or lost. This amount of water loss equates to over 450,000 acre-feet annualy, the conservation storage capacity of a medium-sized reservoir. Over 700 water utilities in Texas report water losses in excess of ten percent; the American Water Works Association recommends immediate action by a water utility if losses are greater than ten percent. Unfortunately, these data do not provide a complete picture of water loss in Texas. Although required by law to file annual reports of water loss, over 2,400 water utilities did not file water loss reports in 2000. In addition, there is variability in the reported water loss data. Water loss percentages reported by the same utilities responding to different surveys differ by more than ten percent about one-third of the time. These differences may result from different interpretations of water loss, different methodologies for calculating water loss, or using different units to report water loss. Currently, there are no efforts by the state to correct the errors associated with water loss reporting. A water audit is the primary method for determining water loss in a water utility. The 78th Texas Legislature, in 2002, enacted House Bull 3338 requiring public utilities to complete an audit every five years. The information from these audits is to be used in the regional water planning process. The first audits however, are not required until 2006, after the second round of regional plans are to have been completed. Some water suppliers recognize the lost revenue that results from water losses and make serious attempts to correct these losses using leak detection equipment and replacing inaccurate meters. Other utilities, however, do not monitor their water loss and refuse to answer questions regarding such losses. The State Water Plan proposes to spend billions of dollars to increase water supply in Texas, yet there is not comprehensive and accurate data on the amount of water lost in water utilities.


36 pages; available for download at the link below.


water usage