Water is not the only thing that’s Leaking

I have a friend who earlier this year experienced a water leak in his system. He only discovered it when he received a bill for over $3,000 from North Salt Spring Waterworks District. He investigated, found the source of the leak, and repaired it.

However, while reviewing NSSWD’s “Leak Allowance Policy” he couldn’t believe what he was reading.

Here’s the long and short of it. If you experience a major leak, which is not in the main line from the meter to your home, you may be held responsible for thousands of dollars of charges.

How in the world is this, in any way, shape or form, representing the best interests of ratepayers of the District?

Let’s look at what actually occurs when there is a leak – water runs, the meter spins, the ratepayer is charged for the water running through the meter.

But, and this is where a major question arises – what is the actual monetary damage to the District? Virtually zero dollars in comparison to the District’s own reported annual leakage from the St. Mary Lake system, which, in 2018 was recorded as 19,282,132 gallons per year.


Even a hundred thousand gallons is literally a drop in the bucket compared to the District’s own leaks, which have been consistently in the 25% range of total water extracted from St. Mary (see chart below)

Read that last sentence again. 25% of all water which is pumped out of St. Mary, and treated (at some cost), is leaked out into the ground somewhere.

Using NSSWD’s billing costs, to calculate a proportionate cost, would mean that leak should be billed at $425,000 a year.

In December last year I asked the Board the question why an acoustic leak survey has not been conducted to identify where the 19 million+ gallons a year is leaking. Cost of the survey would likely be under $20,000.

So, while a number of ratepayers are penalized thousands of dollars for their relatively minor, accidental leaks, the Board has turned a blind eye to major, ongoing leaks, while claiming we are in a water crisis year after year.

Accountability to ratepayers…its a thing….which is also evidently sadly leaking.

PS – The Channel Ridge lawsuit is suing for the promised water supply for about 300 densities. Using the BC standard of 2.5 residents per lot, 230L a day per person X 365 days = 13,868,392 gallons per year…or, about 5 million gallons LESS than what is currently leaking out of the St. Mary system. The lawsuit could claim as much as $40,000,000 in damages…plugging the leaks could make it all go away.

St. Mary Data and Calculations

St. MaryBulkMeteredLossLoss GPY
201385,053,86062,297,98327%22,755,877
201486,074,31164,945,92325%21,128,388
201573,256,77856,670,00823%16,586,770
201680,619,25056,159,76130%24,459,489
201773,757,56054,825,53026%18,932,030
201874,229,22054,947,08826%19,282,132

PPS – Last posted Water Audit was in 2018….

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