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DRBC's Water Audit Program Highlights Leadership in Water Conservation
New report provides first-of-its-kind assessment at Program's 10-year mark

For Immediate Release

December 4, 2023

(West Trenton, N.J.) -- The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC or Commission) is a recognized leader in water conservation and works with public water suppliers to reduce water loss. In a new report, A Comprehensive Assessment of the Delaware River Basin's Water Audit Program (2012-2021), the Commission provides a detailed look at ten years of Water Audit Program (Program) data. This analysis is the first of its kind in the country.

The study found that water losses have remained relatively constant over the past ten years.

It is estimated that 8.629 million people live within the Delaware River Basin, and that 85% of those people live within service areas of public water suppliers. Understanding how much water is lost in public water supply distribution systems helps suppliers reduce water demand at the source, reduce treatment costs, increase system efficiency and reduce lost revenue.

"The DRBC's Water Audit Program is key to managing a sustainable, equitable and secure water supply, and planning for future water needs throughout the Basin by tracking water use trends," said DRBC Deputy Executive Director Kristen Bowman Kavanagh. "Drinking water is an essential use of our Basin's resources, and data on water loss is a critical component of water resource planning. Through the water audit program, the DRBC now has a foundational dataset to support its Basin-scale planning efforts."

The Commission's Water Audit Program launched in 2012, and the DRBC was one of the first regulatory agencies in the country to require this type of audit. Approximately 300 public water supply systems perform annual water audits under the DRBC Program, which helps water suppliers identify, track and report water loss from their distribution systems. These 300 systems collectively have about 2.5 million service connections and 29,000 miles of water main.

"Building on its comprehensive compilation of the American Water Works Association's key water loss performance indicators derived from 10 years of annual water audits, the DRBC has conducted a robust, multi-faceted analysis of the audit results to identify underlying trends and relationships between system asset and operating conditions, water loss performance and water loss control practices," said Gary B. Trachtman, P.E., Principal Water Resilience Engineer with Arcadis U.S., Inc., and Chair of the AWWA Water Loss Control Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Practices.

Results from the study support the Commission’s ongoing water conservation goals by providing a quantitative data-based foundation to guide future practices and policies, helping ensure reliable and sustainable water supplies in the Basin.

"The DRBC has assembled a detailed and thorough evaluation of a decade's worth of water efficiency data that is providing policymakers, water utilities and the public a highly revealing look at the manner in which water resources are utilized by water utilities in the eastern United States," said George Kunkel, Principal at Kunkel Water Efficiency Consulting.

The report makes several recommendations, including improving DRBC's water audit review process, improving planning accuracy within the Basin, and continuing to get feedback from the regulated community about their experiences implementing audits.

"This well-researched comprehensive report provides a firm foundation for moving the water audit program in the Delaware River Basin from monitoring progress in water loss management, to promoting it," said Allan Lambert, Water Loss Research & Analysis Ltd.

Click here to view the report (pdf).

Click here for information on the DRBC's Water Audit Program.

The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency created in 1961 by concurrent compact legislation, marking the first time that the federal government and a group of states joined together as equal partners in a river basin planning, development and regulatory agency. The five Commission members are the governors of the Basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania) and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government.

To learn more about the Commission, please visit www.drbc.gov or follow DRBC on X at @DRBC1961.


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Elizabeth Brown, Elizabeth.Brown@drbc.gov

Kate Schmidt, Kate.Schmidt@drbc.gov

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