Leaks are one of the biggest “consumers” of water. Infrastructure upgrades only happens when there is a need in regards to bigger pipes or severe leakages, and until then leaks will occur. The question remains, how do we know there is a water leakage? The short answer to this is, it must impact the end-user on a financial level, before anything is done. Somehow our respect for one of the most valuable resources on earth disappeared. Not necessarily based on monetary value, but based on the property that it is life giving, to everything on planet earth.
Water cannot be created by humans. The volume of water on earth are fixed, the only thing that changes is the different states of water, from salt water, fresh water, clean and dirty water to name a few. We need to drastically manage the clean water we have, not just as a country, but on a global scale. What do you do when you see a water leakage, even if it doesn’t have an impact on your wallet? Do you turn a blind eye?
Most water leakages start small and grow over time and are not visible, either under infrastructure or under natural ground. This clean water, already treated and cleaned with cost occurred, goes to waste without anyone noticing.
What happens when you are not looking at your water meter, do you know? Let’s assume a scenario where a small leak in your water infrastructure occurs during the first half of the month. Your water utility readings are taken on the 17th of each month. Because of the timing of the leak, it will only show a small increase on the statement you will receive by the end of the month. The leak will thus continue until the next reading, which will be on the 17th of the next month. The statement for this reading will be issued by the end of that month.
Let’s assume you respond quickly after receiving the statement, know it is a water leakage and know exactly where (unlikely) and send a contractor to physically detect and repair this SMALL leak, the result will likely be:
50 Days x 6240 litre per day = 312 000 litre at R27.10
Money wasted = R8 455.20
Water wasted = 312 000 litres of drinkable water = about 10 average households without water for a month = approximate 10 000 people without water for a day in South Africa’s rural areas.