Friday, March 22, 2013

Water Efficiency: Stopping the Flow from Leaky Pipes

One of the most obvious keys to responsible water management is increasing water use efficiency (WUE) and this entails arresting the prodigious flow of water from leaking pipes. All around the world countries are facing massive water losses form leaking pipes. Thankfully there some innovative new solutions to this wasteful problem.

Even a small leak adds up over time. To illustrate the point a dripping pipe can lose about one litre of water per minute. Over eight weeks that amounts to approximately 80,000 litres of wasted water. A leaking faucet in anther source of water loss. A faucet that drips one drop per second, would waste 27,000 gallons of water annually.

In Asia around 29 billion cubic meters of urban treated water is lost every year due to leaking pipes. This is worth about nine billion dollars annually. According to the Asian Development Bank, "by cutting physical losses to half the present level, 150 million people could be supplied with already treated water."

UK water companies lose a combined total of 3.3 billion litres every day. A British newspaper recently claimed that the leading water firms in England and Wales are losing almost 300 million gallons a day through leaks, enough to supply the daily needs of 11 million people.

Each day in the US leaking pipes lose 7 billion gallons of water, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. On average there are 700 water main breaks nationwide each day.

Worldwide, up to 60 percent of water is lost due to leaky pipes. The World Bank estimates that worldwide costs from water leaks total $14 billion annually.

Startup TaKaDu is an Israeli company that is working to address the problem of leaking pipes. They have created a water network monitoring system service using existing data from already available sensors and meters on the network.

A similar effort is underway in the wine country of North California. In 2012, the Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA), teamed up with IBM Research on a new analytics program which builds on the existing IBM-SCWA water management collaboration.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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