WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Texas is no longer in a drought but that doesn't mean we can afford to waste water. Studies show Texas cities are losing billions of gallons of water a year and it's leaking money out of your pocket.
The majority of this water loss is coming from the existing infrastructure - leaky, broken and old pipes throughout the city.
Experts say Texans spend an average of $38 extra dollars a year to cover water loss. The good news is Wichita Falls city officials say residents are likely under that state average. City officials say the percentage of water loss has gone down in Wichita Falls and they are doing their best to keep up with the repairs through an annual replacement program.
"We budget somewhere about a million dollars a year to replace old broken down pipes."
City officials say they focus those dollars in areas where they typically have a lot of water main breaks and keep track of them. Water main breakage is basically leakage. Water that escapes the system due to a leak. He says there are other places where the city loses water.
"We also flush the water main, we flush the fire hydrants, we flush the distribution system. We're required to flush the entire distribution system every month."
They don't track water loss for fire suppression. They have to make rough estimates about how much water the fire department uses.
"One of the larger places where water escapes the system and isn't accounted for is through leakage that isn't picked up through the metering system."
City officials say if someone has a leaky faucet or toilet in their house and they have an old meter chances are that water isn't being accounted for. They say the new meters will put an end to that.
"I can tell you the new metering system we're putting in the new meter itself - the magnetic meter is going to be extremely accurate and we will be able to capture those leaky faucets those leaky toilets."
Some of the cities pipes are 100 years old - and city officials say there are always several million dollars worth of pipes that have to be repaired - but despite the backlog...
"Our water loss for the city of Wichita Falls in 2014 was 5.5 percent in 2014 and it's now somewhere around 2 or 3 percent. That is pretty darn good."
Experts say some of the best ways to conserve water in our homes is to never leave water running, don't use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket - every time you flush you waste five gallons of water and only use your dishwasher and clothes washer for full loads.