The Situation

In southeast Florida, nearly all water suppliers utilize the Surficial Aquifer System to meet the needs of some or all of their customers.

However, as potential limitations on the continued use of traditional water supplies became increasingly apparent in recent years, the need for conservation became a priority.

In 2014, the City of Miramar was rapidly approaching their permitted source water limits, and eliminating water loss became a primary objective.

City staff had noticed a trend of increasing water production that was not consistent with the rate of population growth or new service connections. After performing flow and pressure analyses of the system, it was highly probable that the City was experiencing significant water loss in certain areas of the their distribution system. However, the City could not pinpoint the exact leak sources. Matchpoint Water Asset Management (MWAM) was contracted to attack the issue.

The Action

In order to determine the exact location of the water loss, MWAM conducted a leak detection survey on approximately 80 miles of pipelines and associated service connections.

The objective of the survey was to pinpoint and confirm as many leaks as possible to help Miramar reduce their Non-Revenue Water (NRW).

At the completion of the survey, 289 distribution leaks and 30 customer leaks were identified. Nearly all of the leaks had no significant visible water at the surface. Due to the rocky and porous soil conditions, the City estimates that many of these leaks may have started years ago, and many others would have not surfaced for years. Without the use of acoustic technologies, these leaks would have gone undetected for a long period of time.

During the repair efforts, the City was able to find the exact location of the pinpointed leaks by MWAM 90% of the time. With such a high success rate, the City’s crews were able to save time, money, and minimize disruptions to services. Ultimately, at similar distribution pressures, the City’s water demands have been reduced by approximately 1 Million Gallons per Day (MGD).

Beyond satisfied with MWAM’s performance, the City of Miramar contracted MWAM again in early 2015 to survey an additional 85 miles of pipe and associated services. The second survey identified an additional 148 distribution and 38 customer leaks.

The Results

So, what do these findings mean for the City of Miramar?

The City expects to save between $100,000 and $150,000 in direct operating costs by reductions in power and chemical usage yearly, based on the projected decrease in water production and pumping.

In addition, the City expects to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the long term by reducing wear and tear on equipment. More importantly, the City expects to maintain water production under the permitted conditions, conserve water, and postpone the need for costly development of alternative water supplies. After subsequent phases of detected leaks are repaired, the City and its customers will reap significant fiscal and environmental benefits.

Not only will the City benefit from the fiscal increases due to leak discovery, but also the environmental gains are equally as visible. As water is an increasingly invaluable resource and a life necessity, Miramar’s dedication to reducing their water loss promotes conservation and also provides reduced operational and indirect costs that help keep water rates low for the City’s residents. The City’s work with MWAM has now made leak detection an ongoing program in order to maximize conservation and reduce operational costs.

In early 2016, the City of Miramar renewed their contract with MWAM, for a third leak detection survey, this time of 40 miles of the distribution system.

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