This was the headline that ran in the Asheville Citizen Times in mid July 2014.

Link to story

While the headline may hint of money pit, you only need to read the byline to get the real story: loss is declining and Asheville is in the top tier of utilities fighting leaks.

The City of Asheville has set itself amongst an elite few, amongst those progressive utilities in North America that have embraced industry best-practices for Water Loss Management in full force. What is most interesting about this story is the climate in which it takes place.

In California, drought conditions have gotten so bad that there is an all-out ban on washing cars and runoff from watering lawns. In Texas, one town has, out of plain necessity, instituted a toilet-to-tap system where its treated wastewater is piped directly to the head of its drinking water treatment plant. These are the drastic conditions we naturally associate with paradigm shifts. It’s the heart attack that causes you to quit smoking, the fatal accident at the intersection that prompts the installation of the traffic light.

But those drastic conditions don’t exist in Asheville. Western North Carolina is blessed with rain and then some. Over 4 feet of rain per year. While 2013 was the driest year on record for California, it was the wettest years on record for Asheville, North Carolina. Not to mention that many parts of the Asheville water system are supplied by gravity from its pristine reservoirs.

Consider the contrast that exists between Asheville and Texas and California. Asheville does not have to manage Water Loss in order to meet the population’s current and future water demands. Supply is plentiful. So why bother? They don’t do it because they have to. They do it because it’s good for the environment, because it’s good for business operations, because it’s good for customer service, and because it’s the right thing to do. Herein lies the real story.

Learn more about the Asheville Non-Revenue Water Management Program here.