Benefits of pipe work flow on to Bega’s broader environment

Bega Valley Shire Council is saving 120 million litres of water a year  by detecting and repairing leaks in its water system. And the benefits are set to flow into the broader community, with leaks also able to be identified in private household pipes.

Through the Water Loss Management Program, the NSW south coast council has used acoustic leak detection technology to locate hidden leaks in some 60km of pipes, allowing for their excavation and repair, says the Bega Valley Shire Council water and sewerage services manager Jim Collins.

"The Water Loss Management Program helped us fully understand water losses and how to measure them in our system," he said.   

"Currently the work is focused on Bega Valley Shire Council’s water supply system. However, it will also be able to identify some leaks which are in private household pipes. Residents/owners will be advised that they may have a leak in their household water pipes, but they should also check their system for leaks."

Investigations into the amount of leakage in Merimbula and Tura’s water distribution systems were undertaken by the Water Loss Management Program and Bega Valley Shire Council. As a result, financial assistance of up to $45,000 was provided to help find and repair leaks, and to install flow meters to monitor water demand and leakage into the future in these distribution systems.

"Bega Valley Shire Council is to be commended on their early action and pro-active approach to investigating water losses and reducing leakage in their water systems," says NSW Water Directorate chair Stewart McLeod.  

"These leaks are not apparent from the surface but can run-off into the groundwater table, stormwater, sewer or water course. The acoustic leak detection equipment and techniques have made the identification and location of leaking pipes much more efficient and cost-effective than in the past.

"The benefits of this work literally ‘flow on’ to the environment via local creeks and rivers. In this case it means an additional 120 million litres per year will flow down to Tantawangalo Creek."

There are 25 councils which have applied to the Water Loss Management Program to help reduce their water losses, with water savings of almost 5000 million litres of water per year expected from these councils, according to NSW Water Loss Management Program chair Cr Robert Bell.

"The program works with councils to quantify their water leakage and provides financial assistance to implement cost effective water saving projects," he says.

"The total cost of the Bega project, for example, is expected to be less than $142,000, a small price to pay for saving millions of litres of precious water per year."

The Water Loss Management Program is a four-year, $22 million project which is one-third funded by the Australian Government through the Water Smart Australia Program, with the remainder from participating regional

Local Water Utilities interested in applying for assistance under this program should contact program manager Mirko Sramek on 02 9242 4127.

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