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DRBC To Hold Informational Meeting And Public Hearing On New Water Accountability Proposal

For Immediate Release

September 8, 2008

(WEST TRENTON, N.J.) -- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) will hold an informational meeting and a public hearing in September on proposed rulemaking to phase in a requirement for water purveyors to follow a revised water audit approach for identifying and controlling water loss.

The informational meeting on this proposal will take place on Wednesday, September 10 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the DRBC’s office building, located at 25 State Police Drive in West Trenton, N.J. This public meeting will include presentations by DRBC staff as well as a question and answer period.

The public hearing to receive comments on the proposed rulemaking will be held on Thursday, September 25 at the DRBC’s office building in West Trenton, N.J. beginning at 1:30 p.m. and continuing until all those who wish to testify have the opportunity to do so. Those who wish to testify are encouraged to register in advance by phoning Paula Schmitt at 609-883-9500, ext. 224.

An estimated 150 million gallons of treated and pressurized water is physically lost from public water supply distribution systems in the Delaware River Basin every day and current methods to account for, track, and reduce this loss are inadequate.

The purpose of the proposed amendments is to phase in a program requiring water purveyors to perform a water audit and report their findings in accordance with a new audit structure established by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the International Water Association (IWA). These new methods are widely regarded as superior to the existing approach that entails tracking “unaccounted for water,” which is no longer considered best practice.

The new water audit methodology provides a rational approach that will facilitate more consistent tracking and reporting than the existing approach allows. It will help water managers and regulators, including the DRBC, state agencies, and utility managers, target their efforts to improve water supply efficiency, thereby reducing water withdrawals.

The proposed rule changes also require changes in the way data pertaining to water loss are collected by the state agencies and shared with DRBC.

Because the water audit approach is relatively new in a regulatory context, the proposed amendments call for phased implementation. Until 2011, DRBC will promote the voluntary use of the IWA/AWWA water audit program. During this period, information will be gathered from within the basin and nationwide to assist in the establishment of performance indicators for water loss, which ultimately will replace the “unaccounted for water” targets. If approved as proposed, water purveyors would be required to perform an annual water audit conforming to the IWA/AWWA methodology beginning in calendar year 2012.

The DRBC’s Water Management Advisory Committee, composed of representatives from a wide range of public and private sector organizations, took the lead in developing the proposed rulemaking.

Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, October 3, 2008, and should be mailed to: Commission Secretary, DRBC, P.O. Box 7360, 25 State Police Drive, West Trenton, NJ 08628-0360. Comments also may be faxed to “Attn: Commission Secretary” at (609) 883-9522 or emailed to paula.schmitt@drbc.state.nj.us. All written comments should include the commenter’s name, address, and affiliation, if any, and “Water Audit” in the subject line.

The full text of the proposed rule changes is available on the commission’s web site at www.drbc.net.

The DRBC was formed by compact in 1961 through legislation signed into law by President John F. Kennedy and the governors of the four basin states with land draining to the Delaware River (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania). The passage of this compact marked the first time in our nation’s history that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners in a river basin planning, development, and regulatory agency.

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Clarke Rupert, (609) 883-9500 ext. 260
Kate O'Hara, (609) 883-9500 ext. 205

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