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DRBC’S New Water Loss Reporting Program Helps Track Water Supply Efficiency in the Basin

For Immediate Release

March 31, 2014

(West Trenton, N.J.) -- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has long recognized the importance and value of using water wisely at all times, not just during times of drought. The commission has an ambitious water conservation program in place, the newest component being its water loss reporting initiative for public water suppliers. Results from the first year of reporting indicate that approximately 150 million gallons of treated and pressurized water is lost from public water supply distribution systems in the Delaware River Basin every day.

"The water audit requirement is part of the commission's ongoing efforts to ensure progressive water resources management and enhance water conservation in the basin by helping to decrease water demand at the source, reduce treatment costs, and improve system efficiency," said DRBC Deputy Executive Director Robert Tudor. "The current severe drought in California serves as a timely reminder that our water supplies are limited and that we must always strive to use this resource wisely."

DRBC approved a regulation in 2009 requiring public water suppliers to implement a new water audit approach established by the International Water Association and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) beginning with calendar year 2012. The new approach, which reflects the latest thinking in the field of water efficiency, utilizes the AWWA Free Water Audit Software© program for data collection and reporting. The software tracks how effectively water is moved from its source to customers' taps, helping public water supply systems quantify and account for their water losses. The first reports covering 2012 were due to the commission by March 31, 2013, with subsequent reporting required annually thereafter.

The reported loss of approximately 150 million gallons a day is considered non-revenue water, or water that is treated, but "lost" before it reaches the customer. These losses may be real or physical losses (resulting from leaks, for example) or apparent losses (such as through theft or metering inaccuracies).

"At this stage in the implementation of the DRBC's water audit program, the emphasis is on ensuring that water utilities build confidence in the reported data," Tudor said. "The DRBC water audit program is designed to ensure basin utilities are focused on this important issue. We believe that developing an accurate water audit will result in a clearer understanding of the causes of water loss and will allow system operators, utility managers, and regulators to concentrate their efforts on conservation and infrastructure improvements, saving both water resources and money."

The commission is one of only a handful of regulators in the U.S. that has made the AWWA Water Audit Methodology a regulatory requirement. DRBC staff worked with the AWWA Water Loss Control Committee to help develop the new software that implements the water audit approach. Additionally, DRBC's Water Management Advisory Committee was instrumental in developing the commission's water audit rule and in engaging water purveyors from the basin in a nationwide pilot study.

The DRBC was formed in 1961 by compact legislation signed into law by President John F. Kennedy and the governors of the four basin states with land draining to the Delaware River. The passage of this compact marked the first time that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners on a regional body with the force of law to oversee a unified approach to managing a river system without regard to political boundaries.

Additional information, including a summary update on the first year of the program, can be found on the commission's web site at www.drbc.net.

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Contact: Kate Schmidt, DRBC, 609-883-9500 ext. 205, kate.schmidt@drbc.state.nj.us

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