Water loss control in California is just beginning, but the Water Loss Technical Assistance Program (Water Loss TAP) has wrapped up. And thanks to the enthusiastic participation of retail urban water suppliers in California, it was a resounding success!
The Water Loss TAP was offered in 2016 and 2017 to support California utilities in complying with new water audit validation and reporting regulations established in California Senate Bill 555 (2015). WSO was selected to execute the Water Loss TAP, in partnership with Cavanaugh. The program was overseen by the California-Nevada Section of the American Water Works Association with funding provided by the State Water Resources Control Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Water Loss TAP offered every participating utility two in-person water audit workshops, a “practice” level 1 water audit validation session, and a formal level 1 water audit validation, all at no cost to the utility.
Now that the first round of level 1 validated water audit submission is over, the final numbers are in: the Water Loss TAP was the largest water audit education and validation effort ever conducted.
All told, the Water Loss TAP provided the mandatory level 1 water audit validation for 93% of California’s retail urban water suppliers.
The state now has a lot of data that describes water loss in California. The data isn’t perfect - it’s only the first year of water audit submission, and it often takes a few years for an agency to hone in on accurate data describing water loss - but it’s useful to start considering statewide water loss control. Additionally, the State Water Resources Control Board will establish water loss standards by July of 2020, so the data will soon have to be put to use.
The CY2016 and FY16-17 water audits that were level 1 validated through the Water Loss TAP indicate:
Moving forward, the Water Loss TAP set the stage for water loss engagement across California. Through the Water Loss TAP, we learned that:
So what now? Another two years of water audit validation and collection before the publication of water loss standards! We will continue to support the California utility community in the process through water audit validation, analytics, source meter testing, and water loss control program design and execution. We’ve also got some thoughts on effective water loss regulation - but that will have to wait for a future post!