Rains, cooler weather won’t fix utilities’ drought-ravaged systems
Most of Texas can look forward to more drought through Nov. 30, according to the Climate Prediction Center.
The CPC in August predicted some portions of north and east Texas may see some improvement, but since those areas are already in dire shape, the improvement may be from bad to not-quite-as-bad.
In the last report of September, the US Drought Monitor showed about 80 percent of Texas was in moderate drought, and almost half the state was in severe drought.
That will put more strain on utilities trying to provide water to thirsty customers. TCEQ reported at the end of September that more than one-in-four Texas utilities is restricting water use.
Even if rain returns with the fall weather, utilities won’t be completely in the clear. The strain put on their distribution systems during the hot summer may have caused leaks they don’t know about….leaks that will continue until they’re found, rain or shine.
Utilities who want to make sure they aren’t wasting water call Sam Godfrey, the Leak Whisperer.
Godfrey of Austin-based SAMCO Leak Detection Services, Inc. (www.www.samco-leakservice.com) has more than 26 years experience in dealing with water system integrity.
Finding underwater leaks is not easy, even with high-tech listening devices. SAMCO crews carefully inspect the route of a utility’s distribution system. The acoustic equipment allows SAMCO to identify and pinpoint leaks, then summarize the findings and make recommendation for repairs.
“Utilities used to just wait for the water to bubble up. When they saw a big puddle where it wasn’t supposed to be, they knew they had to fix it,” Godfrey said.
But the littlest leaks can rob a utility, and some may never show up. “I’ve identified water leaks and water loss that would never have been located if we hadn’t used our listening devices,” Godfrey recalls.
Those drought-caused leaks will be wasting water all fall and winter, but with Godfrey’s help, utilities can tighten their system before next summer’s onslaught.