One local resident, alerted to a possible leak by the water utility, is reported to have had losses which, undetected, would have amounted to 840,000 litres…. about $1,900 worth of water.
Of greater interest is that Barwon Water found that 10% of homes involved in the trial were found to have leaks. This is consistent with findings by other water utilities that use Taggle’s LPWAN to collect water consumption data.
To address water losses, many utilities conduct periodic checks for water leaks by installing data-loggers at consumers’ meters. While such activities do indeed find water leaks, they are largely symbolic in that a leak can start at any time and, if not detected, can lead to significant long-term losses. A property with no leaks on the day of the check might spring a leak a few days later and might go undetected for months or even years.
Some “experts” suggest that continuous monitoring of water consumption by a representative sample of a water utility’s customer base is all that is required to reduce water losses. While it is true that this method will provide clues as to the likely leakage across the network, it will do nothing to identify which of the un-monitored properties have leaks and provide no information as to where water is being lost.
Mackay Regional Council in North Queensland collects hourly water consumption and reports that, even with continuous monitoring, they see about 2-3% of all properties having leaks at any one time.
The only way to really address the problem of customer-side water leaks is continuous monitoring with an ongoing commitment to reviewing the data and taking prompt action.
Photo: Transmitter attached to existing water meter in a basement in Colac Town Centre