The problem with our ghosts
Kansas City in Missouri is not the only metropolis haunted by water’s spectral form. A precious, limited resource, it is crucial not just financially, but for all life forms as well. Every drop of water that has been treated and regarded as drinkable is named revenue water. Water is measured and the consumers pay to use the water, generating revenue.
But in Kansas City in 2015, while more than 28 billion gallons (105 billion litres) of water was treated and processed, 9 billion gallons (34 billion litres) of water – almost a third – mysteriously disappeared. Dubbed ghost water as it just seems to vanish into thin air, the challenge is figuring out where it went. After all, enough water to fill up more than 14,000 Olympic-size swimming pools cannot be easily spirited away.
Kansas City’s antiquated water distribution systems may hold the key. Large leaks in the pipes under the ground have been pinpointed and reports from residents point to flooding in their respective residences in times of little to no rainfall.
In 2015 alone, an estimated US$24 million in the city went into ghost water, and patching up the damage will incur more costs – which will fall to residents to shoulder in the form of taxes. But the financial outcry is dwarfed by the implications to humankind; the 9 billion gallons (34 billion litres) can support a town of 10,000 people in rural Africa for more than 1,200 years! In conclusion, we need to look more carefully at our water systems, and put more effort into conserving this precious resource.
Source: Water Online