As employees of a public utility we all know the importance of providing customers with a reliable water supply. Yet, due to aged infrastructure, and a lack of funds to remedy this, a lot of water is lost due to leaks and illegal abstraction. In this article by Daniel P. Duffy, from the Water Efficiency Magazine (November – December 2017 Issue) non-revenue water is highlighted, together with, successful leak detection and audit methods.
Every drop of clean water is precious. Unfortunately, 30–50% of water is lost through aging infrastructure. And lost water equals lost revenue to the water service supplier. Water is lost through leaks and cracks in pipes and their fittings. Since most infrastructure is underground, it is virtually impossible to visually determine the location of these leaks unless the water has reached the surface (causing ponding and sink holes, structural damage, buckling pavement, etc.), and the exact location may be indeterminate. Leak detection requires special technologies that allow inspectors to precisely determine the location and severity of pipeline leaks. This is a field that continues to grow and advance by utilizing both established technology and by adopting emerging methods.
THE IMPORTANCE OF LEAK DETECTION Water lost through leaks, waste, or simple theft is referred to as non-revenue water, in that it fails to provide revenue to the water supplier because it never reaches its customers. These can be physical losses of water escaping the system, or unaccounted-for water that is not measured due to faulty meters and meters that have been tampered with, poor accounting and bookkeeping, or as a result of human error when reading and recording the water system flow meters. Available and emerging technologies are designed to detect and prevent physical water losses. These will continue over time until they are detected. The accumulation of losses over long durations can result in significant losses even from insignificant leaks. And if water can get out, impurities (soil, bacteria, organics, etc.) can get in and impair the quality of the water, even rendering it unfit to drink.
In this latest article from Janice Kaspersen, from the Stormwater magazine, by Forester Network, one gets a look at “China’s sponge cities” and how they choose to rectify their water related problems of stormwater runoff and flooding.
You may have read recently about China’s “sponge cities.” They’re an approach to what we commonly call green infrastructure—an attempt to reduce flooding and infiltrate stormwater runoff in some of the areas most affected by rapid urbanization. China has spent $12 billion so far—with federal and local governments and private developers all contributing—in about 30 different cities to install measures such as permeable pavements, bioswales, green roofs, and wetlands.
Flooding has become a deadly problem in China, especially in major cities. As this Economist article notes, the country’s urban land has more than doubled in the last 20 years, and cities sometimes expand right into the floodplains. “All this is exacerbated by China’s often impetuous approach to urban planning,” the article continues. “When the planners in charge of Beijing designed its roads a few decades ago, for example, sunken underpasses were chosen over elevated interchanges for the reason that they seemed more appealing visually, as well as being cheaper to build. They have also, as it turns out, become a particular source of sodden misery. Beijing has 149 such underpasses in its urban districts. With inadequate drains and pumps, even a single heavy rain can turn them into swimming pools, bringing traffic to a halt in the process.”
We have just received our journal subscription for the Water Well Journal for December 2017 (Volume 71 No. 2), which is focuses on groundwater and sustainability. As such one can find information on topics such as the significance of groundwater professionals, case study on flooded wells, as a result of Hurricane Matthew, water treatment and water quality, compressed gas safety, leadership and other related information from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA) such as upcoming events and an index of major articles by month for 2017.
Persons wishing to view this issue or any back issues can email me or check me at my desk.