What We're Doing

Policy Solution

More frequent droughts means our water supplies are at risk. We push for rapid, cost-effective actions that can save water on a large scale.

Policy Solution

We promote changing rooftops, building rain gardens, and planting trees—all to capture rainwater where it falls.

Policy Solution

Families can save about 11,000 gallons of water a year by making a few simple changes. We tell them how.

Related Priorities

What You Can Do

Protect Our Precious Water Supply

Six quick and easy things you can do to reduce water pollution and runoff.

More sustainable (and beautiful) alternatives to a grass lawn

Experts & Resources

New Report Finds Big Mismatches in SoCal Water Plans
Ben Chou

A comparison of future water supply and demand projections for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and its water agency customers reveals substantial differences over the next 25 years.  Despite recent trends toward greater conservation and efficiency and more local water supplies, MWD expects relatively less investment in local supply, greater reliance on imported water, and higher per capita demands than its member agencies.

Theses mismatches have real consequences for Californians because the plans are used to make investment decisions in water supply projects with multi-million and multi-billion-dollar price tags, which are ultimately paid by taxpayers and water customers. If water agencies overestimate water demand, they run the risk of investing in water supplies that won’t be needed (but still need to be paid for) and sticking customers with higher water bills.    

In our new Mismatched report, we find that MWD overprojects annual water demand by 335,000 to 554,000 acre-feet and underprojects local water supplies by up to 229,000 acre-feet compared to the water agencies in its service area. Based on these projections for higher demand and less local supply, MWD anticipates 259,000 to 281,000 AF more in annual imported water sales than member agencies plan to purchase. If more planned local supply projects, such as water recycling and stormwater capture, are developed, imported water sales would drop even lower.    

MWD—California’s largest water supplier— provides about 50 percent of the water supply for more than 19 million people living in Southern California. It imports water from two main sources: the Colorado River and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, both of which are threatened by climate change and growing demands for water from homes, businesses, and the agricultural sector.

The Colorado River Basin has experienced a decade-long drought, which has reduced natural flows and left the basin on the verge of declaring a shortage. At the same time, decades of excessive water diversions have threatened the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta’s ability to supply water and serve as a vital ecosystem for hundreds of species of birds, fish, and other wildlife. And hotter temperatures and more extreme droughts from climate change are likely to make matters worse.   

We reviewed the 2015 Urban Water Management Plans of MWD and its 26 member agencies. These plans describe how agencies anticipate meeting water needs in the future. Since MWD’s plan covers the entire region, aggregating the plans of agencies in the region should yield comparable results. Yet our analysis reveals stark differences between MWD and local water agencies. 

Regional Water Demand

Because of the region’s heavy reliance on imported water and past drought experiences, Southern California has a long history of implementing conservation and efficiency programs. Reducing the water taken from lakes, rivers, and aquifers leaves more water for future use, as well as wildlife and ecosystems that depend on that water. Conservation and efficiency measures also are generally less expensive than developing new sources of water.

Using more water-efficient fixtures and appliances, updating plumbing and building codes, adopting water conservation rate structures, and other measures have dramatically reduced per capita water consumption. For instance, Los Angeles and Long Beach have reduced per capita water use by 35 percent since the 1980s, resulting in lower total water use today even with higher populations. And during the most recent drought, Southern California reduced water use by up to an additional 28 percent. Despite the region’s history and recent efforts to become even more efficient, MWD projects higher per capita demands than local water agencies. For example, in Riverside County and San Bernardino County, MWD’s forecasts exceed water agencies’ forecasts by 40 to 80 gallons per person per day. For the entire region, MWD’s projections of annual demand surpass water agencies’ by 335,000 to 554,000 acre-feet for 2020-2040. 

Local Water Supplies

Water agencies use a combination of local supplies—such as groundwater, surface water, and recycled water—and imported MWD supplies to meet demand. In recent decades, agencies have increased investments in local supplies to improve drought resiliency and reduce reliance on imported water. For example, between 1987 and 2009, recycled water use in Southern California more than quadrupled. And local water agencies expect to invest in local supplies even more. For instance, Los Angeles plans to increase annual stormwater capture by 68,000 to 114,000 acre-feet by 2035. 

Yet MWD’s plan includes less local supplies than local water agencies’ plans. In 2025, local water agencies estimate about 154,000 acre-feet more than MWD does and by 2040, this difference increases to more than 229,000 acre-feet, primarily due to increased production from groundwater and recycled water sources.           

Imported MWD Water

Local water agencies typically exhaust local supplies first because they are generally less expensive. Additionally, local supplies tend to be more drought resilient than imported water, which is supplied by melting snowpack. During the recent extreme drought when we saw record-low snowpack, MWD reduced water deliveries by 15 percent and penalized member agencies for exceeding their allocations.

To become more self-sufficient and reduce reliance on imported water, many water agencies are increasing conservation efforts and expanding production from local water supplies. For example, Los Angeles aims to reduce imported water purchases by 50 percent by 2025, and Santa Monica is striving to eliminate all MWD purchases by 2020.

Due to less water demand and more local supplies, local water agencies project roughly 259,000 to 281,000 acre-feet less in annual MWD purchases in average water years from 2020 to 2040 than MWD does. But these estimates don’t reflect how much lower imported water purchases could fall since many local water agencies only report MWD supplies available for purchase instead of how much water they anticipate purchasing. For instance, if all local water supplies were used before imported water was purchased, annual MWD sales in average water years would be more than 500,000 acre-feet lower than MWD’s projections.  

The report also examines differences in demand and imported water purchases in dry years. While the difference between MWD’s and local water agencies’ anticipated imported water purchases in dry years is less, it is still substantial.  

The full report, including an appendix documenting our methods and results, is available here
Mismatched: A Comparison of Future Water Supply and Demand for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Its Member Agencies
Issue Brief

Even in normal water years, Californians see a large and growing gap between the water we demand and the water that is naturally available. The 2012–16 drought saw surface water and groundwater supplies shrink drastically, sounding a louder wake-up call about the need for more sustainable management of our state’s water resources.

Water agencies in Southern California need consistent assumptions as they consider major investments in water-supply projects, especially given limited state and federal funding. Our analysis shows that the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and water agencies have reached very different conclusions about future water demands and supplies, and they must more closely coordinate long-term water-management planning before making decisions with wide-ranging implications for not only the region but also the entire state.

Despite recent trends toward conservation and efficiency and greater use of local water supplies, the MWD anticipates relatively less investment in local water supplies, continued regional reliance on imported water, and ever-growing demand for water. In particular, the MWD’s projections of future annual water demands are 335,000 to 554,000 acre-feet higher than what is predicted by the local agencies over the next 25 years. On the basis of these higher-demand projections and the expectation of less local water supply, compared to local agencies’ predictions, the MWD anticipates 259,000 to 281,000 acre-feet more in annual imported water sales than the water agencies plan to purchase. 

Hurricane Harvey: Another American Deluge
Rhea Suh

As we lend our immediate support to Gulf Coast communities, we must also protect people from such future disasters by addressing infrastructure, safety measures, flood policies, and climate change.

People in Houston are evacuated on rescue boats as floodwaters from Harvey rise, August 28, 2017.

David J. Phillip/AP

In just three days, more rain fell on the Texas Gulf Coast than what flows out of the Mississippi River in three full weeks. Tiny Cedar Bayou got 51.9 inches, the most ever measured for a single storm in the continental United States. Hundreds of thousands of people were washed out of their homes, and more than 32,000 huddled in makeshift shelters. In the words of the National Weather Service, “This event is unprecedented and all impacts are unknown and beyond anything experienced.”

From left: Tammy Dominguez and her husband, Christopher Dominguez, at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center, where nearly 10,000 people are taking shelter after Harvey; evacuees fill Max Bowl, in Port Arthur, Texas.

From left: Michael Ciaglo/Houston Chronicle via AP; Kim Brent/The Beaumont Enterprise via AP

This is an American disaster. It demands an American response. We stand with the people of Houston and of the region—and with their need for national-level emergency aid and long-term recovery support. This support must be both effective and equitable and must reduce the prospect that this kind of suffering will be repeated, in Houston or anywhere else.

One thing we learned from Superstorm Sandy, five years ago this fall, and Hurricane Katrina before that, is that local communities are central to the success of any plan for emergency assistance, short-term aid, and long-range recovery. These groups with boots on the ground will need our support, and we encourage you to give it.

Because right now, they are the ones who remain in harm's way. A small ocean of water engulfs the Houston region, creating unimaginable damage and loss. Much of the water is laden with a toxic mix of chemicals seeping from area refineries, chemical plants, and abandoned industrial and waste sites. Strange smells sweeping through the area underscore reports of air pollution emissions from the refineries that dominate the region and explosions at one chemical plant. We don’t know how much has been released because air monitors have shut down, but press and local reports estimate the number in the millions of pounds of volatile organic compounds, like benzene, and other nasty chemicals. 

Flint Hills Resources oil refinery near downtown Houston on Tuesday, August 29, 2017

David J. Phillip/AP

Much of the water contains sewage from flooded municipal treatment plants. Public health officials are warning residents to stay out of the floodwaters. And there are drinking water concerns, too. Houston has been on a precautionary boil order, and there are fears that other drinking water systems could be compromised. 

Even after the storm has passed, the danger is unabated. 

And as people return to water-damaged homes, they face a high risk of living with mold, which can aggravate asthma, allergies, and other respiratory ills. After Katrina, Sandy, and other disasters, we saw communities blighted by these issues―along with contaminated sediments, debris left standing, and continued lack of services that threatened public health long after the floodwaters receded. Those are conditions that should not be repeated but will be hard to avoid after a disaster of this scale. Resources will have to be made available fast and without the rancorous debates that followed Superstorm Sandy. 

As we’ve seen in past disasters, low-income communities and people of color tend to suffer disproportionate exposure to these dangers, often without receiving adequate care. Proximity to the sources of the contaminants, lack of information, and poor access to protective measures or the resources to just up and leave until the dangers are gone all conspire to make the impacts even more burdensome to these communities. That’s why, again, the needs of these communities must be front and center in the days and weeks to come.           

Of the roughly 800,000 households in Houston, fewer than one in six has flood insurance. That means a lot of people won’t have money to repair or rebuild. Even those who do will find it extremely difficult to receive federal aid that might help them move to higher ground. Some 43,000 families were on the wait list for affordable housing in Houston. That list is likely to grow, as local housing costs rise in response to the lack of supply, and if communities don’t quickly move to replace lost housing for low-income residents, a recurring problem after a flood disaster.                    

Between 2005 and 2014, the federal government spent more than $278 billion on disaster rebuilding and recovery efforts―most commonly for floods, the nation’s most frequent and costly form of natural disaster.

To fix the problem, we put in place the Federal Flood Protection Standard in 2015, which requires better planning and protections for flood-prone infrastructure built with federal funds. Unfortunately, just as Harvey was beginning to stir in the Gulf of Mexico, President Trump rescinded those standards, part of what he called a “disgraceful” permitting process. It didn’t take long for Harvey to show the folly in that. Now it’s time for Congress to demand a more responsible approach.

There are a bevy of additional very big issues laid bare by this disaster. They will all need to be addressed once we have begun to get communities along the Gulf back on their feet.

We have to make our cities more sustainable to avoid some of the infrastructure issues that further complicated Harvey’s impacts on Houston. We have to address the safety risks associated with private facilities, like refineries and chemical plants, and their health impacts on neighboring communities. We have to fix this country’s flawed flood policies, and fast, to stop putting Americans in harm’s way. And most fundamentally, we have an obligation to protect current and future generations from the growing dangers of such disasters made worse by climate change. That’s what we’re committed to at NRDC, for the people of the Gulf and for us all.

Get Your Mind Out of the Storm Drain
Alisa Valderrama

How cities can spur voluntary "green" stormwater management on private land

A growing slate of leading cities are seeing that the challenges of modern-day stormwater management require a departure from traditional approaches. Historically, cities have looked to centralized “gray” infrastructure: imagine thousands of storm drains and miles of underground pipes linked to few outfalls which dump polluted stormwater directly into the nearest waterbody. Today, leading cities are increasingly relying on distributed “green” means of managing stormwater.

These “green” solutions use principles of bio-mimicry to capture rainwater at or near the place where it falls. This keeps the rainwater out of the centralized gray systems where it would have become polluted. Instead, "green" solutions allow the rainwater to infiltrate back into the ground, where it can be re-used on or near the site where it falls.

Within the group of leading cities using hybrid “gray + green” approaches on a large scale, some are finding that some very low-cost green stormwater management opportunities exist on private land.   Rather than pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to capture the stormwater from an acre of impervious area in the street or sidewalk, in some cases it is far cheaper for a city to pay for stormwater capture on private land. For each city, there is a baseline amount that they are spending to "green" in the public right of way, and there is a lower amount that cities could offer property owners, in the hope that some of those low-cost distributed stormwater management opportunities get built. For example, where it costs $250,000 for Philadelphia to capture stormwater in the public right-of-way, the City can offer to pay private landowners $100,000 for an acre of impervious cover managed.

And that’s exactly what Philadelphia, and other cities, are beginning to do.

But figuring out how much to offer to private property owners to "go green" is only part of the challenge. Managing a grant or incentive program on a large scale is challenging for a city that is not accustomed to pro-active program marketing and outreach to its customers. And there is much at stake in getting it right—especially when a city recognizes that distributed green infrastructure is an opportunity not just to manage stormwater, but to become more resilient to climate impacts by reducing urban heat island effects, reducing localized flooding, helping improve air quality, and also beautifying neighborhoods, spurring local entrepreneurs and creating "green-collar jobs." That's a tall order.

Last year, NRDC and Philadelphia's Sustainable Business Network decided to delve into this fascinating niche—specifically into the green stormwater market that exists in Philadelphia. It's one of the largest in the country, doling out approximately $10 million per year to private property owners who use those funds to manage stormwater from their roofs and parking lots. Through its private property grant programs, Philadelphia has been able to get some extraordinarily low-cost stormwater management. But the City also recognizes the potential to create not just good environmental but also good local economic impacts through their programs, and they wanted to be sure to maximize those elements as well.

This brief report walks through some of the findings of our research into Philadelphia's green infrastructure market. We placed several dozen phone calls to interview a wide range of local stakeholders to understand what changes to the City's existing programs would strengthen the programs' positive economic impacts and climate resiliency. We are happy to report that Philadelphia will be implementing many of our recommendations in some form. A few key takeaways (in no particular order) are below:

  • Make it easy for vendors and property owners to link up. Develop a clearinghouse to connect vendors to property owners interested in stormwater retrofits
  • Keep the costs to submit a grant application as low as possible. Create a grant application process that minimizes “pre-development” costs and relieves the upfront financial burden for applicants.
  • Keep the grant program structure as simple as possible but consider funding the most desirable projects (for example, projects that will create vegetation in neighborhoods vulnerable to heat island effects) at a higher rate.
  • Provide as much information as possible about the grant programs via website, case studies, webinars, and/or workshops where potential program participants can share their views on how a grant program could best work.
Fixing Our Water Infrastructure: Smarter, Fairer, More
Larry Levine

It's no secret. America needs to invest—big league—to bring our water infrastructure into the 21st century.

If anyone had forgotten, the ongoing tragedy in Flint was our national wake-up call.

Today, I testified in Congress at a hearing focused fixing our nation’s wastewater (sewage) and stormwater infrastructure. I invite you to read below the summary version of my testimony, which I delivered orally this morning, for details about the water infrastructure problems we face and the solutions at hand. And see my full testimony here—drafted with the help of my incredible NRDC Water Program colleagues—for a whole lot more detail.

Two mayors, a county commissioner, the director of a state environmental agency, and a water resources engineer sat alongside me at the witness table. By the end of the hearing, one thing was clear. There was a whole lot we could agree on.

All agreed that we need to ensure clean water for all of our communities—both wealthy ones and those less well-to-do. And all agreed—or at least none disagreed—that this requires meeting the Clean Water Act standards that protect our health and environment.

All agreed that we need to be smarter about how we do this—for example, by using cost-effective solutions like green infrastructure, wherever it can achieve clean water results and improve our neighborhoods.

All agreed that we need to use fairer and more equitable ways to raise the necessary funds, which do not unduly burden low-income households.

And all agreed that we need more federal and state funding to help communities meet their water infrastructure needs.

Let’s hope that Congress takes note, and passes legislation that promotes smarter water infrastructure practices, supports assistance to low-income water and sewer customers, and substantially increases federal and state aid for local water infrastructure improvements.


Testimony of
Lawrence M. Levine
Senior Attorney
Natural Resources Defense Council
Before the
U.S. House of Representatives
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
Hearing Entitled
“Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America:
Improving Water Quality Through Integrated Planning”
May 18, 2017
 

Good morning Chairman Graves, Ranking Member Napolitano, and members of the Subcommittee.

I appreciate the opportunity to testify today.

First-class infrastructure to protect clean water and public health is among our most important—and most basic—needs as a nation.

America’s municipal wastewater and stormwater infrastructure is outdated and failing due to decades of deferred maintenance and a failure to update pollution control technologies. 

Far too often, untreated or insufficiently treated sewage and polluted runoff from cities and suburbs makes our rivers, bays, beaches, estuaries, and other waters both unsafe for human use and too degraded to support the fisheries and natural habitat on which we all depend for sustenance, recreation, and natural flood mitigation. 

Likewise, our failure to invest adequately in drinking water infrastructure means that, in too many cases, the public is still drinking water containing contaminants that pose serious health risks.

We have heard a lot this morning about the costs of Clean Water Act compliance.  We cannot have a two-tiered system where the wealthy get water that is clean and safe for their families, and the less well-to-do get second-class water, wastewater, and stormwater systems that pose risks to their health and environment. 

Rather, we need to create a system where all communities can afford to upgrade their water infrastructure, and ensure compliance with legal protections that make certain that they do.

In regard to integrated planning, there are two key points that I would like to emphasize.

First, integrated planning is a valuable tool for complying with Clean Water Act requirements, but it must not be used to water down those requirements. 

When done properly, integrated planning encourages communities to look at all of their Clean Water Act requirements holistically and identify ways to sequence investments to attain the greatest health and environmental benefits, in the least amount of time. This encourages the use of solutions like green infrastructure, which save both money and time by addressing more than one community need simultaneously. 

Integrated planning must not be confused with approaches—such as H.R. 465, the Water Quality Improvement Act—that would roll back Clean Water Act standards that protect public health and the environment. 

Second, discussions of integrated planning must occur in the broader context of (i) the need for increased water infrastructure investment at all levels of government, and (ii) the need to fund that investment in ways that ensure affordable access for all to safe and sufficient water, wastewater, and stormwater services. 

Without addressing these two needs, integrated planning alone will not solve our water infrastructure crisis. 

Based on these over-arching points, NRDC offers the following recommendations:

  • Integrated planning under the EPA’s 2012 Integrated Planning Framework should be used appropriately, as an important tool for cost-effective and expeditious compliance with the Clean Water Act. Congress should not pass any legislation that uses integrated planning to roll back Clean Water Act protections. 
  • Likewise, the concept of a community’s “financial capability” must not be distorted to undermine public health and environmental protection. Permittees must take advantage of opportunities to improve affordability for ratepayers, and especially for low-income households, before cost concerns are considered as grounds for extending compliance schedules.  Any consideration of cost must also consider the benefits of clean water and green infrastructure.
  • Congress should establish a Low Income Water and Sewer Assistance Program, and should support the creation and expansion of complementary programs at the state and local levels. NRDC supports H.R. 2328, which would create a pilot program. We further recommend that Congress create such a program nationwide.
  • Federal policy should promote local water, sewer, and stormwater rate structures that are fair and equitable to low-income households, as well as best practices that reduce costs for all customers, such as asset management, green infrastructure and water efficiency.
  • Congress should increase the cap on the amount of State Revolving Fund assistance that states can distribute as grants. A revised cap should provide incentives to states to invest more in water infrastructure and to direct more financial support to:​
    • low-income communities’ water infrastructure needs,​
    • environmentally innovative projects, and
    • projects that prepare our water systems for the impacts of climate change.
  • Finally, Congress should triple the current annual appropriations to the SRFs and direct the additional funds to priorities that are currently under-funded, such as lead service line replacement, green infrastructure, water efficiency, and climate resilience.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. NRDC looks forward to working with the Subcommittee on bold and effective solutions to our nation’s water infrastructure challenges.

Info Packet: Permanent California Regs to Make Water Conservation a Way of Life
Resource

A packet of documents pertaining to an executive order by California's Governor, Jerry Brown, making water conservation a way of life. These include: a fact sheet summarizing the order; an infographic showing how the standards will help establish reasonable water use based on local conditions; a short coalition sign-on letter on the draft implementation report for the order; and a more detailed comment letter on the draft implementation report.

Cutting Our Losses
Overview

Every water system leaks. Altogether, billions of gallons of water are lost every day from U.S. drinking water systems. As states and communities contend with the twin challenges of an aging water infrastructure and a changing climate, leaky water systems threaten the quality and reliability of our drinking water.

Some states are leading the way by requiring best practices for estimating, locating, and reducing leaks. Yet many states and cities are not acting and remain woefully uninformed about the true volume of water losses beneath their streets.

Click on a state to find out what policies are being adopted to report water losses accurately and set targets for water loss reduction. Click on the faucet icon to view an actual water loss audit report in the format recommended by the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

Click on a State or City to Learn More
  • No Action
  • Rudimentary Water Loss reporting is required
  • Annual Water Loss reporting with AWWA standard terminology is required
  • Annual use of AWWA Free Water Audit Software is required
  • Validation of water loss data is required
  • System-specific, volume based performance benchmarking required
  • River basin agencies or other regional organizations where water loss reporting is being specifically addressed
  • Water suppliers for which validated water audits are complete and available
  • Rudimentary Water Loss Reporting - Some water suppliers are required to make simple estimates of water losses.
  • Annual Reporting with Standard Terminology - Reports of water loss using industrywide definitions are required each year.
  • AWWA Free Water Audit Software - Utilities are to report water losses in an electronic format developed and endorsed by the water utility industry.
  • Validation of Data - Third party experts or trained evaluators review the information and data sources used by utilities to prepare water loss audit reports (“Level 1” validation).
  • Volume-Based Performance Benchmarks - Goals or targets are being set to reduce water losses by specific volumes.

Model State Legislation

Click here for model state legislation, which can be adapted for use by states that do not yet have the full suite of water loss policies recommended on this website. Please contact us if you would like more information on how this model legislation could work in your state.

Several states have introduced bills similar to our model. Click the links below to track their status:

New Water Loss Manual Now Available

The new fourth edition of Water Audits and Loss Control Programs (M36), an essential reference manual published by the American Water Works Association, is now available. M36 is a vital tool for preparing an effective water loss control program. This resource helps drinking water utilities of all sizes to discover how much water is being lost due to leakage, meter error, or water theft. With a clear explanation of the standard water audit methodology and some of the best loss control techniques, this manual empowers water professionals to determine the cost of uncaptured revenue from the non-revenue water (NRW) and minimize future losses. The new M36 offers progressive thinking and even more solutions on the road to accountable water management.

To order online, go to www.awwa.org/M36.

Water Losses in Your Community

A sustainable community needs a reliable and efficient water delivery system – for public health, fire safety, and good environmental stewardship. The level of water losses from the distribution system can also be seen as an indicator of a community's ability to manage its financial and physical assets. To find out what your community is doing to quantify, locate, and reduce water losses, here are the eight key questions that any citizen, local official, or reporter could ask of your local water supplier to begin a constructive discussion about the condition of your own water system.

Benefits and Costs of Water Loss Audits

How much does a water loss audit cost, and how much savings can it help generate for water utilities?
Click here for summary of available information from case studies around the country.

In The News

  • North American Water Loss 2017: Call for Abstracts >>
  • "A City Haunted by Ghost Water: Leaking Water Adds Millions to Ratepayers’ Bills"
    Read the article >>
  • "As NJ loses billions of gallons of drinking water annually, lawmakers consider remedy"
    Read the article >>
  • "These leaks can be stopped" (Jan. 2017) Press on outdated infrastructure in New Jersey
    Read the article >>
  • "Aging and leaky water mains cost NJ millions"
    Read the article >>
  • “Water-Wasting Leaks Plague Many Cities,” Wall Street Journal.
    Read the article >> [Subscription or payment required]
  • “Identify water system weakness,” TimesUnion. LTE by Larry Levine.
    Read the article >>
  • "City audit: Austin Water Utility could improve meters, loss-reporting process," KXAN. "A newly released audit shows Austin Water Utility, by one industry measure, leads Texas in its management of water loss, but certain utility reporting processes are 'not efficient' and inaccurate water meters need improvement."
    Read the article >>
  • "Lawmakers Ponder Slapping Regs on Water Loss," Water Online. Coverage of S.B. 555 in CA.
    Read the article >>
  • "Water loss a simmering topic at HPU," Hibbing Daily Tribune. Water loss gets political at a utility in Minnesota.
    Read the article >>
  • California announces groundbreaking Water Loss Control Collaborative: CA-NV AWWA announcement
    Read the article >>
  • Collaborative Framework Aims to Curb Utility Water Loss.
    Read the article >>
  • New Mexico announces statewide Water Loss Control Training Program.
    Read the article >>
  • Water loss plays a part in management changes for water system in Camden NJ.
    Read the article >>
  • Water loss related scandal fuels customer mistrust of water system management.
    Read the article >>
  • "Next Generation Water Loss Tools: AWWA's New & Improving Tools and Publications for Water Loss Control," Georgia Operator; Will Jernigan, PE, explores the evolution of cutting edge tools that can be used to help North American utilities better understand and control their water losses.
    Read the article >>
  • City of Jackson, Mississippi receives a credit rating downgrade; water loss cited as a factor.
    Read the article >>
  • "Poor or rich: The value of water is directly related to what it costs," American Water Works Association Journal; author Melanie K. Goetz notes that the "Perception of value is subjective, influenced by various factors, including a consumer's income level. It's up to water utilities to communicate to all customers that water isn't something to take for granted."
    Read the article >> [Subscription or payment required]
  • "The Art of Water Recovery" (July 2014); NY Times; David Bornstein describes the worldwide interest in water loss control and the emergence of firms focusing on water loss reduction.
    Read the article >>
  • "Auditing Water Losses from Municipal Drinking Water Utilities: Best Practices and Pro-Active State Policies Save Money and Water" (Jan. 2014). In the newsletter of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers, and Treasurers, NRDC's Larry Levine highlights what these state officials, who serve as guardians of the public fisc, can do to promote water loss audits and why they should.
    Read the article (see p. 10) >>
  • "High Leakage Rate Cited in Moody’s Rating of City," Moody's Investors Service.
    Read the article >>

Contact Us

Contact us to learn more about how your state or local utility can improve its water loss policies and practices or to make a suggestion.

Additional Resources

State Policies to Track and Reduce Leakage from Public Water Systems
Affordability Insights Obscured by a Flood of Miscalculation, Comments to Michigan State University’s Water Affordability Study
Report

Ed Osann and Larry Levine provided comments and recommendations to a water affordability study, “A Burgeoning Crisis? A Nationwide Assessment of the Geography of Water Affordability in the United States” by Elizabeth Mack and Sarah Wrase from Michigan State University.

Report on the Evaluation of Water Audit Data for Pennsylvania Water Utilities
Report

This report discusses the results of work conducted by Kunkel Water Efficiency Consulting (KWEC) to analyze water audit data collected using the AWWA FWAS from PA water utilities, and compare it to AWWA water audit data collected and validated by knowledgeable water auditors in a standardized manner.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Water-Smart Cities