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Water System Audits and Water Loss Control
A water pipe that is leaking. Photo courtesy of Halifax Water.

Nationwide, roughly 6 billion of gallons per day of treated water is lost, i.e., taken from water resources by public water suppliers but never reaches the customer.

As of calendar year 2020, in the Delaware River Basin, this number is estimated at 228 million gallons per day.

How is Water Lost?

•  Real water losses from physical infrastructure failures, e.g., leaking pipes

•  Apparent losses from inaccurate meter readings and erroneous billing practices

Water is a finite resource. As demand for water increases, it is essential to ensure that water infrastructure is dependable and able to efficiently move water from source to customer.

Water System Audits: The Old Way

In the past, audits were conducted in the absence of consistent definitions and standards. They also often used inappropriate metrics for measuring water supply efficiency.

Not surprisingly, some systems billed only half, or less, of the total water they treated, pressurized and put into the distribution system.

DRBC's Water Audit Program

In 2009, the DRBC amended its Comprehensive Plan and Water Code to implement an updated water audit approach to identify and control water loss in the Basin. The revised regulations require public water suppliers to conduct an annual water audit of their systems to help identify water losses, particularly water lost due to leaky infrastructure. 

The new proactive approach is consistent with the International Water Association (IWA) and American Water Works Association (AWWA) Water Audit Methodology that is considered a best management practice in water loss control.

The DRBC's revised rules result in a clearer understanding of the causes of water loss and allow system operators, utility managers and regulators better target their efforts to improve water supply efficiency, saving water and money.

The DRBC is one of a handful of regulatory agencies in the United States that has changed its regulations to reflect the improved approach to water loss accounting made possible by the IWA/AWWA methodology. The rule changes approved by the DRBC Commissioners in 2009 were developed by DRBC staff and the DRBC’s Water Management Advisory Committee (WMAC). Additional information on the DRBC rule change can be found under Useful Links.

DRBC Water Audit Program Summary: Calendar Year 2020

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Instructions on How to Submit a Water Audit

The Water Audit requirement applies to all public water suppliers within the Delaware River Basin who have been issued approvals by the DRBC to withdraw and use in excess of an average of 100,000 gallons per day (gpd) of water during any 30-day period.

Water Audits are based on a calendar year and are due by March 31 of the following year.

To complete the DRBC water audit requirement for your system(s), please follow these steps:

1. Download the AWWA Water Loss Control Committee Free Water Audit Software from the AWWA’s website at: https://www.awwa.org/Resources-Tools/Resources/Water-Loss-Control 

Note that to download the Free Water Audit Software, you must either log in as an AWWA member or register (registration is free). Only Version 6.0 of the software may be used to satisfy the DRBC water audit requirement.

2. Click the link to download the software. In the dialog box that opens, choose a method to save the file to your computer. Depending on the web browser you are using, the steps for saving the software will vary. Make note of where you have saved the software on your computer before proceeding.

3. Open the software from your computer and fill out all data entry fields on the “Reporting Worksheet” tab. Enter your contact information on the “Instructions” tab. Further detailed instructions and definitions are included within the software itself. 

4. In the “Comments” section of the software, enter the DRBC docket number for the system on which you are reporting. If you wish to include additional comments, please add them after entering your docket number in the “Comments” field.

5. Save your completed Water Audit Software file.

6. Compose a transmittal email to water.audit@drbc.gov, including the appropriate docket or permit number in the email subject line. Attach the completed Water Audit Software file to the email. If your docket includes more than one system, ensure all audit files are attached. NOTE: Please ensure that the software is attached in the MS Excel file format. Do not attach the file as a ".pdf" or other file type. And, please do not submit a water audit if it does not generate a “score”; the audit will be returned to you for completion.

7. Please also see the DRBC’s Water Audit FAQs (pdf).

DRBC's Water Audit Program: Calendar Year Reports

2016 Information

2014 Information

2012 Information

Useful Links

DRBC's Water Audit Program Information

DRBC Water Audit Presentations Presentations

Other Helpful Links