Every water system has leaks, theft, and tank overflows to consider. Unfortunately, most residential meters are not designed to register low flow rates such as leaks and drips. This type of water loss is called “apparent loss” and can add up to millions of dollars each year.

 In an effort to fix this costly issue, cities are beginning to install Unmeasured Flow Reducers (UFR) in domestic water supply lines adjacent to the meter. In the city of Dubuque, Iowa, more than 20,000 have been installed! A UFR is designed to batch the water and change its flow so that it has enough force for the meter to read. A change in the flow discipline at low flow rates allows the existing water meter to measure those low flow rates it could not measure before.

UFRs can pick up 1/16  of a gallon per minute and below. A 1/16 gallon per minute leak at 20 hours per day wastes up to 75 gallons per day, 525 gallons per week, and 27,300 gallons per year – and all of it is non-revenue water.  These gallons can all be captured by the UFR, along with the profit that would have been lost. Plus, the electronic reading meter can report water usage by the day, hour, and minute and can be used as a customer service and awareness tool by the utility.

Not only can UFRs save cities millions of dollars annually, they also help to cut down on waste and increase sustainability. A.Y. McDonald and the City of Dubuque are dedicated to increasing sustainability and decreasing the amount of unmeasured water by holding customers accountable for their actual usage. While the existence of a UFR may increase a customer’s water bill, customers that are held responsible for their usage are more likely to take the necessary measures to reduce their consumption or fix the problem, leading to a more sustainable, long-term solution.

Click here for more information about UFRs or contact our customer service department.