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More than 600 water scientists and engineers will meet at the International Water Association’s Water Loss Task Force conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from June 6-9, 2010. They will study data on controlling water losses under the ground in cities and towns around the world as urban reticulation systems frequently leak by as much as 50%, even in developed countries. Water Loss Task Force chairman Tim Waldron says losses of 30% are common under the ground. “In developing countries I have found systems leaking by up to 89%.”
Water engineers attending the conference have warned that at a time of shrinking global water reserves, increasing population and gloomy predictions of reduced rainfall and run-off in key areas, access to fresh, clean water could become the flashpoint for future wars. Despite clear evidence of the savings in water and money, and the reduction in carbon pollution, through water management standards nurtured and endorsed by the Water Loss Task Force, only about 10% of the world’s water companies are attempting to meet the standards. Water Loss Task Force chairman Tim Waldron says fresh water is the single most important issue facing the world today. “It is more precious than gold. We have a great shared responsibility to the planet and to humanity to plug the leaks.”
Water loss experts say governments ignore the “unsexy” problem of water losses because the repair and maintenance of underground systems cannot be seen. Politicians prefer to cut ribbons on large multi-million-dollar treatment plants. Roland Liemberger, Austrian consultant in Manila with Miya group, says politicians were not sure about getting a return or making themselves popular when they plugged leaks and put in meters. “But the big savings are there in money and water. The loss is unbelievable.”
A series of reports will be distributed leading up to the IWA Water Loss Task Force convention in Sao Paulo, where more than 100 papers will be delivered. Ardent leaders of the need to curb water losses gathering at the conference will be available for interview.
Journalists with an interest in environmental and water challenges will be invited to apply for accreditation to cover the Sao Paulo conference. Email if you wish to be supplied with reports from the conference or if you are looking for site-specific releases.
For more information about the conference or the Water Loss Task Force refer to the IWA Water Loss Task Force site or the conference site.