flushing money down the drain

Even though our fearless leader Mayor Dawe,and our only voice at the Region, assures us as Aurorans that our water is the best value there is, water remains a precious resource and shouldn’t be wasted.

Clr. Buck has pointed out to council on several occasions the fact that the town records water loss, and that over some recent years it had increased. This was reflected in residential water bills until some creative accounting and tinkering was done.

Is the town still suffering a water loss?

I have no clue, but I know for certain there was one at my home and it had been going on for what looks to be a year.

The only indication I had of a leak was that my water bills were getting higher. One could simply assume that would cause one to investigate but I simply chalked up these increased to the annual increases the town has rolled out in the double digits over the past couple years.

It wasn’t until I reviewed the numbers for actual consumption and compared them to the average consumption number the town provides on their insert, available here: http://www.town.aurora.on.ca/app/wa/mediaEntry?mediaEntryId=59993 to see that I was consuming 3 times the volume of water I should.

This was true for the winter months as well, so in the words of Swampy the Gator “Where’s the water?

When I went to to the town to inquire as to the meter readings I found the front desk cashier to be most helpful. She immediately began a process of elimination and when neither of us could explain the spike over the past year’s worth of bills she sent me over to the Public

Works Department where I met with the Water & Wastewater Supervisor.

In short order I left with some dye tablets and was running some tests on our toilets to discover that one in the basement that is rarely used was constantly breaching the overflow due to a worn out part.

A trip to Home Hardware had that solved for under $10 but the damage had already been done. If I added it up correctly I’m looking at the better part of $1000 over the past 4 bills.

I have to admit the town was exceptionally helpful in identifying the leak once I approached them, however there is a lot left in my mind as to what could of, and can be done proactively to combat these kinds of leaks.

The town does circulate the flyer I quoted above, as well as provide literature in their navigable website here: http://www.town.aurora.on.ca/app/wa/mediaEntry?mediaEntryId=60527

I suspect that neither of which are read by the majority of households.

In comparison the instructions provided by this site were much easier to absorb:
http://www.ebmud.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/looking-for-leaks_1.pdf

And when it comes to educating short videos on understanding the leak indicator on your water meter makes things sink in that much faster, and would be a low cost item for the town to consider in the future.

Considering that the town is taking regular meter readings it is entirely plausible that simple algorithms could be implemented that do nothing more than help identify a spike in consumption and flag it on the paper bill.

Of course if we were even remotely as innovative or sustainable as Toronto we would be able to view our meter readings online like they do here:
https://secure.toronto.ca/MeterReadingWeb/index.jsp

I’m in no way trying to pass of my responsibility in this matter as the leak was inside my home. I’m simply saying from the perspective of someone who has suffered such a substantial loss that there are tools out there for all of us hooked up to the big pipe in Aurora that would enhance our monitoring of water usage.

We do it with smart thermostats and timers for our electrical appliances, surely water loss shouldn’t be left out.

On a lighter not fellow Aurora blogger Anna has a post on water saving tips to put a smile on your face here:
http://livinginaurora.ca/town-of-aurora/next-generation-irresistible-water-savings-tips/

But the best P.S.A. on water conservation is from our friends at Sesame Street:

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One thought on “flushing money down the drain

  1. Hi Chris,

    A tip on the toilet dye packs.

    When living in Aurora, I always stopped by the Region of York’s booth at the Aurora Street Festival in June to pick up these dye packs for the toilets.

    The following weekend I would test it out. My wife and I do our grocery shopping on Saturday mornings to beat the crowds. So the Saturday following the street sale, before grocery shopping, I would drop the dye packs into toilet tanks and leave. Upon returning an hour or two hours later I would do the inspection.

    I do this still on a yearly basis as the City of Ottawa, where I now live, also has the dye packs available.

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