35% of water supplies unaccounted for

Over a third of water generated throughout public and group water supplies is unaccounted for according to the latest figures provided by Leitrim County Council.

Over a third of water generated throughout public and group water supplies is unaccounted for according to the latest figures provided by Leitrim County Council.

Following a query raised by Cllr Sinead Guckian at the May meeting of the Local Authority, it emerged that the estimated UFW (Unaccounted for Water) is in the region of 35%, a figure that Director of Service, Infrastructure, John McGuinness, says “compares favourably with UFW figures for other local authorities”.

According to figures released by the Council, the Local Authority produces approximately 15,000 cubic metres (3.3 million gallons) of treated water per day. Based on the 35% UFW in Leitrim this represents a lost of approximately 5,250 cubic metres per day.

“This figure is not the volume lost from the public mains,” added Mr McGuinness, “It also includes significant losses within the Group Water Schemes which are connected to the public mains and which, in many cases, are very old pipe lines with limited or no routine maintenance programmes.

“The loss of water from the thousands of miles of water mains in the County is to be expected and losses over distances are found in all services, be it electricity, gas or water. Internationally it is accepted that it is not economically viable to reduce UFW below 20 to 25% in general and 30% in rural areas.

“Leitrim County Council has recently set up a dedicated Water Conservation Unit with a view to bringing the level of UFW from 35% closer to the 25% economically viable level. The cooperation of the domestic consumer and the group water scheme sector is essential if progress is to be made.”

He pointed out that international experience has shown that when domestic customers are metered and have to pay a fee related to the amount of water going through the meter the level of UFW goes down significantly.