Water Leaks

Some you see – some you don’t!

Overview

Many municipalities and industrial customers use a lot of water, and it often takes a lot of energy to pump and pressurize it in a distribution system. Since municipal water is available continuously and we expect it to be there when we need it, the equipment used to deliver it runs continuously. According to the 2013 EPRI report, Electricity Use and Management in the Municipal Water Supply and Wastewater Industries, public drinking water systems use roughly 39.2 billion kWh per year in the United States, which equals about 1% of the nation’s total electricity.

The American Water Works Association defines water loss as either “real” or “apparent.” Real losses include leaks from piping and tanks while apparent losses include inaccuracy in water meters or billing errors. Water leaks can be found by reviewing water production compared to water use, exploring if pumps are on but there is no demand, or by using hydraulic modeling and/or leak detection equipment. You can help reduce water leaks by replacing leaky pipes, fixing leaky storage tanks and lowering pressure.

In addition to saving energy, reducing real losses has several benefits, including:

  • Water purchase as well as operations and cost reductions
  • Reducing potential physical damage from sinkholes, erosion and flooding
  • Deferred water supply expansion
  • Improved economic development
  • Increased knowledge of the distribution system
  • Reduced customer service disruptions

Incentives

Idaho Power offers an incentive as part of the Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency program for leak assessments and repairing underground pipes for municipalities and industrial customers to help reduce real losses. Contact your Idaho Power Energy Advisor to get started!

Idaho Power’s custom incentive covers $1,000 per 5 miles of pipe for a third-party leak assessment. However, a third-party assessment is not necessary if the customer has their own equipment. The company does not incentivize leaks found without a leak assessment.

Idaho Power also offers a custom incentive of $0.18/kWh saved up to 70% of the eligible cost to repair the leaks found with a leak assessment for eligible underground pipes.

Customers are required to provide the following information to receive an incentive:

  • Description of each leak type (crack, fitting, service, pin hole, etc.) with a photo of the damaged piping, if possible. A photo showing a ruler next to the hole is ideal. Estimate size of the hole, if needed.
  • Electric use, and flow and pressure data from the pump station or zone serving the distribution piping where the leaks were identified.
  • A copy of the results of the leak survey and the associated invoice for the service if completed by a third party.
  • Cost information
    • Labor costs in the form of hours spent on each repair and an hourly labor rate.
    • Material costs in the form of invoices for materials. If materials are taken from a larger inventory, an invoice representing the unit cost for the individual parts is needed.
    • Equipment use costs.
    • Invoices for permitting fees.

Payback

Simple payback period will vary based on number and type of leak.

References