Managing water resources is complex, demanding constant vigilance to ensure water quality, as well as a long-term view to ensure a sustainable water future. At American Water, we have developed a comprehensive approach to Integrated Water Resource Management that entails maintaining a range of water resources and assets—both the man-made assets as well as the natural environment.
Water Resources and Planning
In our long-term planning, we evaluate quality, quantity, growth needs, and alternate sources of water supply as well as transmission and distribution capacity. Sources of supply are seasonal in nature and weather conditions can have a pronounced effect on supply. In order to ensure that we have adequate sources of water supply, we use Comprehensive Planning Studies (CPS) and maintain drought and contingency plans to minimize the potential impact on service through a wide range of weather fluctuations. In connection with supply planning for most surface or groundwater sources, we employ sophisticated models to determine safe yields under different rainfall and drought conditions. Surface and groundwater levels are routinely monitored for all supplies so that supply capacity may be predicted and mitigated, as needed, through demand management and additional supply development.
Through our CPS process we regularly evaluate water systems to assess:
Our goal is to maintain Comprehensive Planning Studies and/or targeted studies for all of our water systems serving 500 or more customers.
Water Supply Sources
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Ongoing attention to the maintenance, repair, and development of water infrastructure is necessary to ensure safe, clean water, and efficient and sustainable water use. For example, water management through leak detection and repairs results in reduced water losses (and therefore, reduced energy use and cost). In areas where water resources are relatively scarce, then reducing water losses leads to the availability of more water for our customers.
We perform leak detection surveys on an ongoing basis. Valves are regularly examined through acoustical checks and hydrants are inspected and tested for leaks. Aging facilities and pipes are regularly replaced to improve system performance and efficiency.
All of our regulated states use acoustic leak correlators to pinpoint the location of leaks.
Metering provides an accurate accounting of water flowing through the system, thereby helping to determine where losses and excess usage may occur. American Water's practice is to meter all customers. In some cases, commercial meters on apartment buildings or other multi-tenant facilities may have been changed over to individual meters. Also, fire services may be equipped with flow indicators. Residential service meters are replaced after a predetermined interval, based on state guidelines. Larger meters are tested on a routine basis. On the supply side, all sources of supply meters are routinely tested and calibrated for accuracy.
Substantially all of our regulated water customers are metered, allowing us to measure water usage.