In the Midwest, we sometimes forget how lucky we are to basically have an unlimited supply of fresh water. Just because we don’t have a water shortage doesn’t mean that leaky distribution systems don’t cost money. It is difficult – if not impossible – to quantify the amount of damage water leaks cause to other utilities and infrastructure, such as roadways, sewer lines, and natural gas lines.
A system that keeps good records should know the cost of the chemicals it uses to treat the water and the electricity to pump the water. Pumping and treatment costs can run as low as $.20 per thousand gallons for a system that just uses electricity, to as high as $4 per thousand gallons for a system that purchases water from another system. Most, however, fall between $1 and $2 per thousand gallons. Because costs can vary so much, I use $1 per thousand gallons ($1/1,000) to estimate costs if no cost data is known.
With this in mind, we can begin calculating how much a single leak would cost in a year. A single 2 gallon per minute (GPM) leak is the size of a 1/8” diameter hole in a 60psi pipe. It will lose more than 1 million gallons of water in a year. By comparison, a garden hose typically runs between 5 and 10 gallons per minute. If it costs $1/1,000 gallons to treat the water in the 2 GPM leak, that leak will cost $1,000 per year.
Below is some real data from communities in Missouri, as reported to MDNR:
*Cost is estimated using $1/1000 gallons. Actual cost will vary based on actual costs to treat and pump 1,000 gallons
How much money is your water system losing due to leaks? Let TREKK help you determine how much money you could save using our Leak Detection services.
-Taimen Taylor, Project Manager