Household Water Conservation a Losing Battle Without Water Provider Solutions

by | Jul 6, 2023 | Green Initiatives, Infrastructure, Public-Private Partnerships, Service Line Responsibilities

Water conservation is a widespread concern. The seasonal availability of freshwater in Canada is changing, with an increased risk of water supply shortages particularly in the summer months. The causes for the potential shortfall are well known and include droughts and climate change, poor management of demand from a growing population, and water pollution. Dramatically compounding the problem is water loss due to leaks. According to a study by Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario, the City of Toronto has been losing 103 million litres of clean water per day for the past 15 years. The report said nearly half of all water mains in Ontario are at least half a century old, which is the average age for failure.

Aside from public infrastructure issues, water systems are fighting a losing battle on another front—household water leaks. While water conservation measures and education efforts are important, solutions to address household water leaks are critical. The average Canadian uses about 335 litres of water each day for domestic purposes. A hole in a water pipe as small as 1.5 mm can waste up to 3,570 litres of water in 24 hours. In addition to wasting water, pipe repairs can be an unexpected cost for homeowners who are unaware of their responsibility for service lines on their property. According to John Savoia, Senior Policy Advisor for the City of Hamilton, many city councilors have had calls from constituents with a collapsed or clogged service line that was on the homeowner’s side. “Having to deliver the news that the homeowner must hire a private plumber and incur that cost is obviously a difficult situation for any councilor or city staff,” he said.

In partnership with over 1,000 water service providers across North America, including over 70 in Canada, HomeServe offers homeowners optional protection plans to cover the cost of repairing or replacing private-side water lines and interior plumbing and drainage lines. Expeditiously addressing these leaks minimizes resulting water loss. The solution includes homeowner education to clarify service line responsibility and understanding of how to solve issues through the provider’s program. Our ServLine leak protection program, currently implemented by over 150 water systems in North America, offers reimbursement of a high water bill due to a leak. The program requires that a leak is repaired prior to bill forgiveness, incentivizing the customer to address the problem quickly. In addition to reducing waste of a crucial resource, offering these solutions increases customer satisfaction with the provider and goodwill.