Up to 18 per cent of potable water in the Ballina Shire was uncounted for in 2018.
Up to 18 per cent of potable water in the Ballina Shire was uncounted for in 2018.

WATER LOST: Millions of dollars wasted due to leaky pipes

POTABLE water is leaking from pipes before making it to Northern Rivers' homes due to the poor conditions of pipes, with millions of dollars lost in the process.

Losses reported in 2018 estimated that up to 18.5 per cent of the water processed for human consumption was lost due to leaky pipes in the Ballina Shire, with Lismore at 15.5 per cent, Richmond valley at 14.5 per cent and Byron Shire at 11.1 per cent.

Current figures have not yet been signed off by all councils.

 

Data on potable water uncounted for on Northern Rivers council areas in 2018.
Data on potable water uncounted for on Northern Rivers council areas in 2018.

 

Ballina councillor Sharon Cadwallader, who is also the deputy chair at Rous County Council, said the cost of not acting on this was too high.

"At $1.70 per ML that Rous charge to supply bulk water to council, this in dollar terms equates to $1.2 M, it is way too much to not only lose the precious resource, but the financial loss could be spent in other areas of the shire," she said.

Mrs Cadwallader will present a notice of motion at this week's Ballina Shire Council meeting to create a strategic plan to improve the performance of the water supply network.

The motion also aimed at reducing the amount of uncounted water, with progress reported to council on an annual basis.

Cr Cadwallader recommended that staff provide a report on how the Demand Management Areas and Pressure Management Zones were performing in Ballina.

"(And) that the report be inclusive of water consumption for each zone in ranking order: pressure reduction performance for each zone, non-revenue water for zone, water

main failure history for each zone and the associated scheduled replacement date."

The councillor said council had made significant investments in infrastructure to support the water loss reduction program, but more was needed.

 

Commercial water meter. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
Commercial water meter. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star

 

"This work has assisted staff to investigate leaks, but unfortunately the data collected to date from this program suggests the results are not related to readily identifiable hot spots or issues, rather the leakage is an accumulation of small losses aggregated across the wider network," she said.

"While it is clear that council is attempting to address this issue with the previous investment and it is not expected that non-revenue water will ever achieve 0 per cent.

"Council should be aiming for around 7 per cent."

Ballina Shire Council's November meeting will be held this Thursday from 9am. Click here to stream it live.


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