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City making progress on cutting water losses

With approximately 13 million gallons of water going unaccounted for by the city of Cairo each month, Public Works Director Raymond Stokes briefed the city council this week on his department’s efforts to close the gap between the water being pumped out of the ground and that which is being paid for by utilities customers.
Stokes told councilmen that the city’s water losses are averaging 25 to 30 percent of pumped vs. sold, but the most recent figures show a dramatic drop to below 10 percent.
“We are hoping this is a trend that will last for the next couple of months and beyond. We are not jumping up and down yet,” Stokes commented in reference to the drop in water losses.
The public works director remains confident the city can cut its loses by 50 percent.
Since receiving a report from consultant Charles Rehberg earlier this year about the large water losses, city crews have been out digging deep to repair water leaks.
Stokes says the above ground leaks are obvious, but he pointed out that other leaks are not so easy to find.
Leaks in stormwater drains and catch basins, as well as in dead-end manholes, are more difficult and time consuming to detect.
However, Stokes points out that every little leak adds up to a lot of water.
To date, the city has replaced 214 meters at a cost of $112 each; 21 leaks have been repaired; seven dead-end manhole leaks have been repaired; 35 meters have been repaired; and readings rechecked on 100 meters.
The city’s consultant, Charles Rehberg of Consolidated Pipe & Supply Company, Inc., has recommended meter replacements at Dewar Properties, Cairo Housing Authority, the Grady County Jail, Kinsoney, Inc., DDI Investments, Hunters Glen Apartments, Best Western Executive Inn and Grady General Hospital.
These are some of the largest water users in the city and currently have turbine water meters, which Rehberg says should be replaced. The cost of replacement is estimated at $13,700.
Before the city replaces all of these meters, Stokes says he wants to do some analysis. Depending on the flow demand at each location, the turbine meter could be adequate.
Rehberg is also recommending the city determine why the other schools, motel and apartment or residential communities did not come up on the city’s top 20% of water users.
“I’m proud of what you’ve done. We need to continue to monitor and make sure we understand if the costs to make these repairs are warranted based on the revenues they will produce,” Mayor Richard VanLandingham said.
City Manager Chris Addleton says that, based on the most recent figures, the public works department has identified approximately three (3) million gallons of the unaccounted for water.
“Raymond and his crew are doing a good job of determining our losses. We are not going to hang our hat on one data point, but we believe we can get close to cutting our losses by 50 percent. That will put us in a normal range of losses when compared to other cities,” Addleton said.

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