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Saving Water Through Leak Detection in Affordable Housing

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Saving Water Through Leak Detection in Affordable Housing

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Countries: United States of America
Basins: Colorado, North Pacific (446) (San Joaquin & Sacramento)
Project SDGs:
Includes Sustainable Development Goals from the project and its locations.
Water Use Efficiency (SDG 6.4)
Stakeholder Participation (SDG 6.b)
Progress to Date: 2,743 Number of leak sensors installed
Services Needed: Communications & outreach
Financial support
Desired Partners: Business
Government
Other
Language: English
Start & End Dates: Jan. 01, 2021  »  Ongoing
Contextual Condition(s): PHYSICAL: Water scarcity or drought
Beneficiaries: Water utilities, Local communities / domestic users
Planning & Implementation Time: More than 3 years
Financial Resources: More than $500,000 USD
Primary Funding Source: pool
Project Challenges: RESOURCES: Insufficient data / Data access
Project Source: User
Profile Completion: 80%

Project Overview

Read the latest blog post here: Saving Water, Time, and Money by Fixing Leaks in Affordable Housing

As drought – and longer term drying trends – worsen across the arid southwestern US, it is becoming increasingly clear that we have no water to waste. This has been made starkly obvious by the crisis conditions on the Colorado River, with both major reservoirs hitting record lows in 2022 and negotiations underway among the Basin states for significant water allocation cuts.

T…

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Read the latest blog post here: Saving Water, Time, and Money by Fixing Leaks in Affordable Housing

As drought – and longer term drying trends – worsen across the arid southwestern US, it is becoming increasingly clear that we have no water to waste. This has been made starkly obvious by the crisis conditions on the Colorado River, with both major reservoirs hitting record lows in 2022 and negotiations underway among the Basin states for significant water allocation cuts.

The US EPA estimates that every year, household leaks waste nearly 1 trillion gallons of water nationally. Leaky toilets, in particular, are a leading source of indoor water waste, regardless of the efficiency of the toilet. In large multi-family apartment buildings, toilet leaks are notoriously hard to detect. With dozens or even hundreds of units dependent on a single water meter, property managers have no easy way to identify toilet leaks unless tenants submit a work order. In affordable housing – where many tenants are older and may not speak the same language as their property manager – these leaks often go unreported. Those undiscovered leaks cause invisible, preventable, and expensive water waste.

This collaborative project led by Pacific Institute in partnership with Bonneville Environmental Foundation, Sensor Industries, and local water agencies and housing providers – with funding from CWAC members and other corporations – is tackling water waste head-on using an innovative toilet leak detection system. Small, non-obtrusive sensors attach to the toilet water supply line can identify toilet leaks in real time. The sensors are connected to an online dashboard that sends immediate alerts to property managers and automatically generates work orders for maintenance teams, creating a streamlined process to find and fix toilet leaks quickly. Each installation helps save water, streamline property maintenance, and reduce water and wastewater costs. Preliminary results show that this solution reduces total building water use by 10-20%. This saves millions of gallons of water and thousands of dollars.

At time of writing in October 2023, this project has enabled sensor installations in 11 affordable apartment buildings in Southern California, one in the San Francisco Bay Area, and one in Phoenix, Arizona. A total of 2,743 toilet sensors have been installed and are collectively saving an estimated 13.7 million gallons of water per year. For more information about this project and how you can get involved, please contact Cora Snyder at csnyder@pacinst.org.

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Basin and/or Contextual Conditions: PHYSICAL: Water scarcity or drought
Indirect or Direct Beneficiaries: Water utilities, Local communities / domestic users
Months & Implementing: More than 3 years
Financial Resources: More than $500,000 USD
Primary Funding Source: Pool funding (i.e., joint funding of several partners)
Challenges: RESOURCES: Insufficient data / Data access

Partner Organizations


BEF scopes, develops, supports, and designs environmental water programs and projects across the U.S. The organization has been instrumental in building an NGO-led environmental water stewardship movement around Western Water issues and volumetric flow solutions. BEF collaborated in the creation … Learn More

Water scarcity in California is rapidly increasing due to unsustainable water use and decreasing supply reliability. Worsening droughts, intensifying wildfires, and degradation of freshwater ecosystems, all amplified by climate change, are further threatening water supplies for people and nature. To … Learn More

The CEO Water Mandate mobilizes business leaders to advance water stewardship, sanitation, and the Sustainable Development Goals – in partnership with the United Nations, governments, peers, civil society, and others. Endorsers of the CEO Water Mandate recognize that they can … Learn More

Cummins is an American Fortune 500 corporation that designs, manufactures, and distributes engines, filtration, and power generation products. Learn More

The Pacific Institute envisions a world in which society, the economy, and the environment have the water they need to thrive now and in the future. In pursuit of this vision, the Institute creates and advances solutions to the world’s … Learn More

The Procter &amp; Gamble Company is an American multi-national consumer goods corporation headquartered in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Learn More

The Water Resilience Coalition, founded in 2020, is an industry-driven, CEO-led coalition of the UN Global Compact's CEO Water Mandate that aims to elevate global water stress to the top of the corporate agenda and preserve the world's freshwater resources … Learn More

Christine DeMyers
Admin  
Leonardo Rodriguez
Admin  
Cora Snyder
Primary Contact  

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