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Water System Audits and Water Loss Control

Nationwide, an estimated six billion gallons per day of water is taken from water resources and never reaches the customer; this is enough water to supply the drinking water needs of the ten largest cities in the United States. In the Delaware River Basin, this number is estimated at 150 million gallons per day.

Water suppliers are experiencing real water losses due to physical infrastructure failures (see photo at right) and apparent losses resulting from inaccurate meter readings and erroneous billing practices. As demand for water increases, it is essential to ensure that water supplies and the infrastructure delivering water are dependable and efficiently move water from source to customer.

In the past, water system audits have been conducted in the absence of consistent definitions and standards and have often used inappropriate metrics for measuring the water supply efficiency. Not surprisingly, some systems bill only half, or less, of the total water they treat, pressurize, and put into the distribution system.

In 2009, the Delaware River Basin Commission amended its Comprehensive Plan and Water Code to implement an updated water audit approach to identify and control water loss in the Basin. The new 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. Additional information on the DRBC rule change can be found under Useful Links.

The Commission's revised rules are based on precise definitions and rational accounting procedures that 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. By recognizing such problems and proactively seeking best management solutions, 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).

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 frequently asked questions (FAQs) (pdf 341 KB).

DRBC's Water Audit Programs - Annual Reviews

Calendar year reports are due to DRBC by March 31 of the following year. 

2016 Information:

2014 Information:

2012 Information:

Useful Links

A number of resources are available to assist water system operators in water audits and water loss control:

DRBC's Water Audit Program Information/Presentations:

Other Helpful Links: