Processing Magazine

Report on Australian water utility exposes huge water loss

March 13, 2014

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One of Australia's largest water supply companies has been slammed in an audit report for poor water management. State-controlled Water Corporation has been accused of allowing as much as 43 billion liters of drinking water to go to waste, either through leaks and bursts or because of faulty meters, according to media reports.

Although the Water Corp. was performing generally well in managing its water network, there are areas it still needs to address in order to improve, the Office of the Auditor General said in a statement. One of the biggest challenges is to take effective measures to reduce the amount of water lost by the utility. In 2012/2013 the Water Corp. lost 10 billion liters more than its own benchmark, Auditor General Colin Murphy stated.

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The utility provides water to many towns and suburbs in Western Australia. A significant proportion of the lost water has leaked through the company's aging water system infrastructure, particularly though smaller pipes. The audit estimated that between 2009 and 2013 the company spent an average of A$17.25 million per year on replacing pipes, but since the entire infrastructure is getting old, between 2013/2014 and 2018/2019 Water Corp. will have to invest A$41.5 million per year to prevent water loss.

The audit found that the leakage of about 3.4 billion liters of water was prevented last year, but pointed out that more efforts are needed to reduce water loss, including a modern leak detection system and a new approach to pipe replacement.