Conservation Matters October 2014

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Thursday in San Antonio: Lost Water Conference for water suppliers

Thursday in San Antonio: Lost Water Conference for water suppliers

The Edwards Aquifer Regional Water Conservation Program is sponsoring the Lost Water Conference Oct. 30 in San Antonio for staff of municipal water utilities and other water suppliers in the Edwards Aquifer region. The conference will be from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) offices, 900 E. Quincy St. in San Antonio.

Dr. Calvin Finch, of the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources and an organizer of the conference, said speakers will discuss lost, or non-revenue, water and identify lost water issues within the Edwards Aquifer. One of the institute’s urban water initiatives is to help manage the water conservation program for EAA.

“Lost water is the difference between water that water suppliers pump from the Edward’s Aquifer and the water sold to water users,” Finch said. “The fact that such a difference exists means that water purveyors are paying fees and electricity to pump water that is never sold.”

Finch said this event will help water purveyors understand lost water issues and the resources available from the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan’s regional water conservation program that can help communities save water.

Finch said the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan was developed to balance the protection of endangered species with water use in the Edwards Aquifer. The water conservation program, part of the habitat conservation plan, includes conservation activities targeted at municipal water providers and assistance through low-flow toilet programs, leak detection and other community specific efforts.

Lost water can result from leaks in the distribution system due to old or damaged pipes and pumps, inaccurate metering and accounting, non-metered water use and stolen water, Finch said.

“In the Edwards Aquifer region, municipalities and industrial users pump approximately 280,000 acre-feet of water every year,” Finch said. “An average of 15 percent lost water would equal about 42,000 acre-feet of water, worth over $42 million, every year.

“Reducing lost water from 15 percent to 10 percent in the Edwards Aquifer region would save 14,000 acre-feet or 4.5 billion gallons of water every year,” Finch said.

Conference presenters and topics will include: 

  • Dr. Kelly Brumbelow, associate professor, Texas A&M University Zachary Department of Civil Engineering, on the definition of lost water
  • Ann Gabriel, project manager, Texas Center for Applied Technology, on the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan and regional water conservation program
  • Finch, on water loss services offered by the regional water conservation program

The conference will end with a question-and-answer session with representatives from EAA, Texas Water Development Board and the Texas A&M University System. Demonstrations will include trainings on leak detection and ultrasonic flowmeters.

The conference is free to attendees, and lunch will be provided. For additional information, contact Amy Truong at 210.277.0292, ext. 205, or Finch at 210.277.0292, ext. 205, or calvin.finch@tamu.edu

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