30 to 40 Percent Water Loss Is Common


Steve Bruskiewicz, Municipal Utilities Solution Quality Manager for Johnson Controls, shares some worrisome truths about the industry’s water loss, energy use, pending lead-free implications and long-term asset management needs.

The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.

Water Online Radio: How do you track the volume of water that utilities are actually losing?

Steve: What we'll do is look at a utility and put the water into certain buckets. I like to talk in buckets, because I'm a water guy. We'll look at apparent losses and real losses. An apparent loss is water that's lost – it's used by the consumer but not paid for.

A real loss is water that's just gone. The utility brought it up from the ground, pulled it from the surface water plant, treated it, pumped it out into the system, used the energy to bring it out to the system and got no revenue back from it. Nobody used it, it's just gone.

We'll find out where that apparent loss is, where the real losses are, and then we'll assign dollar values to that, based on the retail and wholesale costs of the water. We can tell a utility, on an annual basis, how many dollars they're losing. I did one utility that had 55 percent non-revenue water.

Water Online Radio: So half the work they're doing is for naught?

Steve: That's right. If they put 100 gallons of water into the system, 55 of those gallons are not being paid for.

Water Online Radio: Is that common?

Steve: It's not common. That's on the extreme, but we are seeing common at 30 percent. 30 to 40 percent seems to be the common number.

Water Online Radio: You think of the manufacturing organizations that we talk about. They’re pulling their hair out about scrap rates in the two to three percent range…

Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.