Water lost and found: Policy solutions
A couple of days ago, our “audit watch” blog post brought up the common problem of water loss — both actual water that leaks from pipes and water revenue that leaks from questionable accounting systems. The first step in the battle to stem the leaks is to improve the data. That means establishing requirements for water utilities to build up, and publicly report, their information on where the leaks are and what’s causing them.
This issue is increasingly coming up in legislatures. For example, on Valentine’s Day, , a New Jersey legislative committee put forward a bill requiring water companies to audit systems to locate water leaks. According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), these audits have the potential to save both millions of gallons of water and millions of dollars in revenue.
Earlier this month, the NRDC published a map showing existing state policies for gathering and reporting on water loss. It has kindly given us permission to reprint that map here.
Note: The states that are colored blue require “system specific volume-based performance benchmarking”; the green states require annual use of free audit software from the American Water Works Association (AWWA); the dark yellow/orange states require annual water loss reporting using AWWA standard terminology; the light yellow states require “rudimentary water loss reporting” and the states that are not colored in require no action.