So that the municipal water is not lost between the pipes

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Some of the Jurassic drinking water pipelines are in quite bad shape. Almost 50 percent of drinking water is lost between the reservoir and the water tap. One community in the region is successfully fighting to prevent this – and is in good company nationwide.

Porrentruy takes good care of its water pipes – not a drop of drinking water is wasted. With newly installed monitoring sensors in the water shafts below the ancient town the authorities currently check noise, pressure and the consumption of the water pipes.

The systematic monitoring of the water pipes of the Jurassic community was necessary because the condition of the network infrastructure had visibly deteriorated as far back as 2008. The authorities had to repeatedly put up with leaks in the pipes. "The situation was really difficult. At the time we lost almost 50 percent of the drinking water. These were untenable situations", FDP local councillor Gabriel Voirol tells "Schweiz Aktuell".

Law passed against water loss

The gradual deterioration forced Porrentruy to take action - successfully: After the new monitoring system was installed, the community in the Canton of Jura was able to reduce the water loss from 48 to 12 percent in six years.

But not all communities in Jura are following the same course as Porrentruy. According to "Schweiz Aktuell", the water loss in the Delemont district is 33 percent. In Ajoie it is 50 percent. A good reason for the politicians to pass a new law. It obligates the communities in the Canton of Jura to set the price of water so high that with the money they can renovate the water pipes from their own resources. This law came into force last February.

Other regions in Switzerland are also successfully battling the loss of drinking water – above all the Canton of Baselland. Whereas in 2012 up to 20 percent of the drinking water was lost in the region, the canton was able to contain the loss over the past year to 13.4 percent.

Chur relies on online monitoring

The city of Chur registered a drinking water loss of 13.1 percent last year. "This is not only leakages, but also inappropriate consumption such as fire hydrant water or measuring differences due to time lags in the meter readings", says board member of the utilities provider IBC Energie Wasser Chur. The true leakage loss is therefore probably between five and ten percent.

Gabathuler interprets this value as a success. After all, the national average is 14 percent. The board member also reveals the recipe for success of Grisons: "We have comprehensive online leakage monitoring, which reports leaks immediately and as a result enables a fast repair. This has a positive effect on the leakage rate", says Gabathuler.

Zurich loses almost no water

The low water losses are also pleasing because the Chur network infrastructure has a high average age. The exact age of the water pipes could not be ascertained. For drinking water pipelines the Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association (SVGW) acts on the assumption of an operating life of 50-80 years.

However, the Grisons-based utilities company does not want to rest on its laurels. On the contrary, up to two percent is invested every year in the city's network infrastructure. According to Gabathuler, for the current year approximately five million francs will be put into renovation works. Throughout Switzerland the investments in the water infrastructure are around 880 million francs.

While the city of Berne recorded a drinking water loss of 10 percent last year, the city of Zurich is now the top performer in containing the water loss according to information submitted. Accordingly Zurich lost a total of 4.9 percent of its water in 2014. Last year the city achieved a value of 4.7 percent.

The Zurich-based water treatment plants attribute the top values to intensive control of the water pipes and ongoing maintenance of the pipes. The city of Zurich also invests substantial financial resources into network maintenance. In conclusion, approximately 23 million francs were invested in the renovation and renewal of the network facilities in the economic hub.

SRF, So that the municipal water is not lost between the pipes: , retrieved on 25.06.2019.

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