Estimating the Potential of Urban Water-Use Conservation in Texas: A Pilot Study of Two Planning Regions
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Conversations about the value or “true cost of water” and the nationwide infrastructure maintenance gap, encourage a reconsideration of the value of utility water losses. Water loss audit data (2014) for two planning regions that are home to almost a third of Texas’ population and include three of the five largest cities are examined to explore the value of economically recoverable water losses from a perspective that better reflects the regional scenarios under which the state water plan is developed. The volume of real and apparent losses is valued per a new regional average composite price to arrive at an estimation for the water that should be feasible to recover. Normalized values of economically recoverable losses are generated to arrive at a statewide estimate of valuation. Industry standard financial and operational performance indicators are also developed and compared to a larger, multi-state dataset. Results are presented in the context of state and regional water supply planning in two ways: 1) comparing the volume of economically recoverable water to the volume of supply expected from water loss control strategies, and 2) the newly assessed value of recoverable water is compared to the estimated costs associated with water loss control strategies.