23 January 2009

Where Did All the Water Go?

In response to my post on water billing, JWT sent this:
I note your water usage with interest. There are two of us living in a single story 2,000 square foot house. We have water saving everything, but beyond that, we don't make any special effort to conserve water. We do have two sets of outdoor sprinklers that keep bushes growing on two rather steep slopes. I have tested the sprinkler water use and it comes out at 4 units a month. Here is our billed use for the last two years.

12/08 7
11/08 11
10/08 18*

[snip]

10/07 13
09/07 10
08/07 33**
07/07 14

* I hired the two best plumbers I could find to search for a leak to account for this doubling of water use. They spent two days and used every high tech listening device to search for the leak. Their conclusion is that there is no leak. That cost $300 or more than my total water bill for the year... The City sent a technician and he tested the meter, and proclaimed it exactly correct.

** This bill scared the crap out of me. It says we used about 16,000 gallons more than average. This could slide us down the hill (not a good thing). There was absolutely no evidence of external water use. Nothing changed in the house. The City Water Department just shrugged their collective shoulders and refused to pursue the question.

So I draw two conclusions from these data. 1) You guys use a lot of water. 2) There is a water measurement problem that no one is willing to address, but will make residential water pricing some sort of insanity.
Let's amend Mr. Deming's wise words to the following:

What gets measured and matters financially gets managed.

Bottom Line: If water prices go up, you can be sure that MANY more errors in bills will come to light.

1 comment:

  1. Great post David. In response to JWT, I would suspect you've got a silently or sometimes leaking or running toilet. At 3 - 6 gallons per minute for a running toilet, over a few days, weeks or months, you could quickly burn through 16k gallons of water. Because over 90% of all indoor water waste or leakage occurs via the running toilet, there is a high likelihood that this is what it is. Toilets run, it's a given. Do you have a HET installed? Of course, water-efficient toilets run as well. Thanks for your diligence. Best.

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