One state at a time, U.S. legislation is beginning to make water loss a priority. Water providers, typically public entities, are starting to become legally accountable for their water loss. Georgia, the forerunner of water loss initiatives, has developed a refined rubric for how to manage, track, and minimize non-revenue water (NRW) and water loss. In the last few years, many other states have begun to require rudimentary annual reporting or systematic annual AWWA water audit reporting. Reporting helps a utility realize where their NRW loss exists.
The shift from no regulation to annual water targets can be perceived as a daunting task for companies. However, advances in SMART water technology and the development of industry experts has made it easier for water companies to meet the required objectives.
The U.S. has made great strides to put water on the top of the agenda, yet many other countries have already made advances in their industry. The United Kingdom, for example, has required water companies to meet loss objectives for decades now. A heavy monetary fine is a significant incentive for the privatized UK water industry to meet the regulatory board’s goals.
In one such recent case – Thames Water was fined 8.5 million GBP by Ofwat, the water industry’s regulatory agency, for failing to cut water leakage in sewage pipes. The water industry being privatized versus public is a major differentiator between the U.S. and the UK and each system has its pros and cons. Fiscally-backed regulation does seem to provoke quicker action, but one could argue profit should not be gained from life’s essential resource – water.
Despite our differences, the universal need for conservation of and access to water is not up for debate. Where does your state stand on water loss? Find out here: https://www.nrdc.org/resources/cutting-our-losses