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Status Indicators: Proceeding as Anticipated | Monitoring Progress | Reviewing for Improvement | Information Unavailable
Proceeding as Anticipated
Reviewing for Improvement
Please note that Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 refer to the first, second, third, and fourth quarters of the Fiscal Year. The City’s Fiscal Year runs from October 1st – September 30th and is denoted by FY. CY denotes Calendar Year.
The most recent score for this measure is from the September 2019 Water Loss Audit Report. The Infrastructure Leakage Index (ILI) is a ratio of water lost through water leaks as compared to unavoidable water loss. Even a brand new system will experience a level of loss defined as unavoidable. Unavoidable loss is water loss that cannot be eliminated. Results between 1 and 2 represent the top 25% of all utilities (first quartile nationwide) and are generally regarded as an exceptional system. These numbers typically represent a brand new water distribution system, or a system with a sustained investment in leak management. Results between 2 and 4 represent 50% of all utilities (second and third quartile nationwide), and is where the majority of utilities operate.
For many utilities, the investment needed to get to a 2 can be a challenge. The City of Sugar Land's ILI of 2.73 is in line with the median value published in the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Water Audit Data Initiative (WADI) 2015 data-set. In order for the City to reach an ILI of 2.00, there are a number of long-term operational improvements that must be implemented. In FY 2018, the City expanded our large meter testing program and restarted our proactive small meter replacement program, which had been placed on hold until the 2016 Water Loss Audit was completed. As part of the FY 2019 budget process, City Council approved the funds to complete a new third party water loss audit. This audit was the first time the City completed a system wide audit since the annexation of Greatwood and New Territory. Completing a water loss audit in FY 2019 helped validate the progress we have made to date and will help to ensure we are making the investments in the right areas. The Public Works Department and City will continue to perform audits on wholesale customers as well as continue to implement key recommendations identified through the Water Loss Audit (2019) looking into FY 2020.
The City has also implemented several strategic projects intended to help the City in reaching its goal. A large number of the recommended improvements will require data driven decision making tools that are currently not available to City staff. The City is working to implement an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system. The data provided through an AMI system is necessary to reach the current ILI goals. The Integrated Water Resource Planning (IWRP) confirmed the value of reducing water loss as an alternative to additional water supplies.
Even the most well-maintained and well-managed water distribution system will experience some unavoidable loss of water before reaching customers. In order to exclude consideration of the unavoidable leakage, the International Water Association supports the use of an Infrastructure Leakage Index (ILI). This index is a ratio of water loss to water leaks as compared to unavoidable water loss.
A lower ILI indicates a reduced amount of water loss due to avoidable leaks. An ILI scoe of 1 represents a perfect water distribution system. Scores between 1 and 2 represent the top 25% of all utilities (first quartile nationwide) and are generally regarded as an exceptional system. These numbers typically represent a brand new water distribution system, or a system with a sustained investment in leak management. Scores between 2 and 4 represent 50% of all utilities (second and third quartile nationwide), and is where the majority of cities operate. For many cities, the investment needed to get to a 2 can be a challenge. Finally, scores above 4 represent the bottom 25% (fourth quartile nationwide). Utilities with an ILI above 4 have a more immediate need to begin investing in improvements to their water distribution system.
Because even the most well-maintained water systems will experience water loss, the ultimate target for this measure is ≤2. It is accepted within the industry that a score of 1-2 is exceptional; whereas, the majority of utilities operate between a 2 and a 4. Utilities above a 4 need to consider more immediate updates to their water distribution system.
Water is the City of Sugar Land's most valuable asset. Therefore, the City takes a holistic approach in analyzing water loss from within our water distribution system by breaking down the loss into real and apparent losses. The result of taking this approach is a framework for the City's actions to address both real and apparent losses in the present and future.
Water physically lost from the distribution system or used and not paid for can be seen as lost revenue, an inefficiency which requires rate adjustments to help make up the lost revenue necessary to pay for water production. Many factors like unauthorized consumption (theft), water main breaks, system leaks, inaccurate meters, water flushed to meet regulatory compliance, and storage overflows can be responsible for non-billed water. While completely eliminating the loss of water is not feasible, strategic and targeted efforts can help keep rates low.