Improvement to water infrastructure lags across the country and that could lead to unknown and costly risks to businesses and consumers, according to a report by Banyan Water. Advances in data collection, automation and machine learning could help eliminate millions of gallons of water waste and offer cost-cutting opportunities, Banyan Water says.
The Banyan Water report says many factors play a role in how a property can be impacted by water problems, including the impact of water leaks, the amount of rainfall in a particular area, the fluctuating cost of water and flow rates in water fixtures.
Technology that monitors water use, learns and adapts to an individual water system, and analyzes a property’s water data to help make water-related decisions can help businesses mitigate their water risks.
Without tracking, business and billing cycles can be about the only way businesses can find out something is amiss with water waste, and that can take weeks or months to figure out, or worse, may not be discovered until infrastructure fails.
The American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2021 Infrastructure Report Card gave water infrastructure a grade of D and estimated a water main break occurs every two minutes in the United States, wasting nearly 6 billion gallons of treated water each day.
Banyan Water says unchecked leaks are likely the biggest water risk for businesses. A 2020 leak analysis by Banyan found that by detecting leaks, water waste was reduced by 74%, a cost savings of $30,600 at $6/kgal and saved 5.1 million gallons of water across 505 leaks detected.
Water costs also increased across every region of the country from 2017-20, according to the report. Several examples include Mountain View, Calif., which had a 53% utility increase since 2014, and Houston’s commercial water users will pay more than 275% more per 1,000 gallons of water than they did in 2003.
Additionally, rainfall and drought conditions impact water usefor communities and businesses across the country. The Palmer Drought Index estimated 36% of the United States experienced drought conditions in June 2021. Banyan Water says smart water software can help businesses keep on top of rainfall fluctuations and not use unnecessary water.
The company says its total water management software helped HP reduce its irrigation water use by 3 million gallons on its Palo Alto, Calif., campus, a 42% reduction.
In another example of smart water systems helping eliminate waste, HydroPoint’s automated controllers helped Santa Clarita, Calif., cut back irrigation use by more than 25% and estimates it will save the city 2 billion gallons of water over eight years.
Finally, infrastructure across the country is not standardized, which can impact efficiency and water waste. Population, infrastructure integrity, funding and improvement timelines and evolving water sources all make it difficult to predict water costs over time for any given facility, the report says.