Ballarat City Council’s failure to hit its water saving goal can be partly attributed to a massive leak at the airport.
A pipe let go an estimated five million litres before the leak was discovered.
That is around 1.7 per cent of the entire council area’s estimated yearly water usage.
It took so long to be noticed because the water was flowing into a storm water drain.
Councillor John Philips raised the enormous loss at Wednesday’s council meeting during the discussion on why the annual per capita water use goal of 2.4 kilolitres would not be met this financial year.
“It would have been (leaking) quite a while, it’s very difficult to know when the leak actually started because it was going into the drain,” he said.
“When there’s a leak hopefully it comes to the surface, but because the leak was near the storm water drain, it went right down the drain.”
“Meters are read quarterly, so it could have been leaking for up to three months.”
Cr Philips said the loss was noticed after Central Highlands Water read the airport’s water meter and saw a jump up from normal use.
Council general manager city services Terry Demeo said in a statement it was a significant amount of water lost, but it was not the only reason use increased at the City of Ballarat property.
“The City of Ballarat estimates that around 5,000 kilolitres of water was lost before the leak at Ballarat Airport was discovered,” he said.
“The Scotsburn and other fires during the 2015/16 fire season also increased water use at the airport, as aerial bombers took significant amounts of water from the airport’s supply.”
Council still would have missed its water saving target without the leak.
Mayor Des Hudson told The Courier earlier in the week council was always working at reducing consumption, even when building facilities using lots of water.
“We have water saving targets but we are balancing that against the participation and enjoying those recreational facilities,” he said.
“Yes, it is ambitious, but we should be aspirational towards those limits.”
“The city has been doing as much as it possibly can.
“We should always aim to do better, maybe it is something we need to revisit each year.
“It is something we are considering and mindful of and should be striving towards.”
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