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Every Drop Counts: Why Everyone Should Be a Water Sleuth

Each year, upwards of one trillion gallons of water are wasted due to leaks in homes across the United States. That’s equal to the water in 1.5 million Olympic-size swimming pools. On average, individual homes lose more than 11,000 gallons a year from dripping faucets, running toilets, garden hoses and other common household leaks.

To raise awareness about how a common leak can lead to serious — and costly — water loss, the U.S. EPA, the voluntary WaterSense program and many partners, including Virginia American Water, are teaming up for the fifth annual Fix a Leak Week, March 18-24.

As a homeowner, regular checks for leaks help conserve water, arguably the world’s most valuable resource — and also save money on water bills. Leaks as small as an eighth of an inch can waste up to 3,500 gallons of water a day. We encourage customers to regularly check toilets, faucets, garden hoses and pipes for leaks. To assist our customers with at-home leak repairs and prevention, Virginia American Water has produced a downloadable leak detection kit on the American Water website (amwater.com/customer-service/detecting-leaks.html).

Just as it’s important for homeowners to look for leaks, we, as your water utility in Alexandria, continuously check water mains, valves and pipes for potential leaks or breaks. Many leaks appear to be related to temperature changes and other factors such as soil movement, vibrations and water pressure changes. Our leak detection involves system surveys and continuous acoustic monitoring of water mains by trained technicians with specialized equipment.

We all need to be water sleuths. Working together, we can reduce water loss and help ensure sustainable water systems for generations to come.