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By ARep | January 17th, 2013 - 5:20pm
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RUMANA WATER CONSERVATION BILL SAVING RATEPAYERS AND PROTECTING ENVIRONMENT PASSES COMMITTEE

A bill sponsored by Assembly Republican Whip Scott Rumana, R-Passaic, Bergen, Essex and Morris, that requires public and private water companies to develop and implement water leakage prevention and reduction plans was approved by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee today.

Each water supplier must provide the Commissioner of Environmental Protection with: (1) the amount of unaccounted-for water leaving its water supply during the current calendar year; (2) a proposal of short term measures that could be undertaken to reduce the amount of unaccounted-for-water; and (3) a plan of action containing long term measures to reduce the amount of unaccounted-for-water. Public water utilities would be required to provide the same information to the Board of Public Utilities.

“You don’t have to be an environmentalist or ratepayer to understand the impact of undected water leakage,” stated Rumana. “While 10 or 20 percent for an unaccounted loss of water has been the traditional norm, technological advances can lower that figure to 10 percent or less.

“The place where huge improvement can be made in reducing unexplained water loss starts with utility companies, whether public or private. Like us, they need to be concerned with this issue and what, if any, steps they have taken to curtail the problem. Asking utility companies to start leak monitoring of their systems will establish a baseline to follow and compare in subsequent years. Our water supply infrastructure is aging and we need to be proactive instead of waiting for a catastrophe.

“Water is a primary resource for us, and it is time for to get ahead of this issue instead of playing catch-up,” continued Rumana. “The biggest expense incurred over the loss of water is not in detecting there’s a leak, but in the cost to fix it. Detailed and consistent record-keeping are a much more logical way to approach this issue.

“Our water supply can be a two-edged sword – either place it high on the priority list and treat it like a dying natural resource, or get behind the effort to start conserving before it is too late. Fixing a water leak is much better than repairing a water main break.”

Rumana’s bill, A-1905, stipulates that every water company that supplies water in excess of an average of 100,000 gallons per day during any 30-day period must develop and undertake a systematic program to monitor and control leakage within its public water supply system.

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