National “Fix a Leak Week” is next week, March 16 to 20.
Sponsored by the U.S. EPA’s WaterSense program, Fix a Leak Week raises water waste awareness and provides motivation for home and business owners to improve water efficiency and save money by checking for and fixing leaks. Nationwide, leaks waste an average of 11,000 gallons of water per home each year, collectively more than 1 trillion gallons, which is equivalent to the combined annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami.
The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) continues to be proactive in detecting customer monthly water usage that is significantly higher than normal. The district’s detection ability received a large, technical boost with the 2008 implementation of the Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system. Each day, via a radio frequency, this system transmits readings from PAWSD water meters to a secure server for account monitoring and customer billing. To date, AMR has already enabled PAWSD staff to detect over 40 cases of customer water loss due to leaks that may have otherwise gone unnoticed for days or weeks.
One such success story occurred over a recent February weekend. On a Monday morning, the AMR system alerted staff to the Pagosa Riverside Campground account that in three days had logged 80,000 gallons over normal use. The break, located under a six-foot snow bank, was leaking water down into the absorbent coarse riverside gravel rather than spreading it to the surface.
Ron Jones, owner of the campground, said of the leak, “We would never have caught it. The PAWSD staff is to be commended.”
Although the AMR system allows PAWSD staff to detect large water leaks in a more timely manner, staff are limited in the time they have to monitor each of the over 5200 customer accounts. It is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner to detect and fix that leak.
For more information about the EPA WaterSense Fix a Leak Week, visit www.epa.gov/watersense/fixaleak.
Information regarding the AMR program and the PAWSD water conservation program may be found at www.pawsd.org.
Information regarding all aspects of water can be found on the Water Information Program Web site at www.waterinfo.org.