Plugging Europe's leaky pipe problem
Last month, the European Drought Observatory estimated that one-third of Europe is on drought warning (EU). With too little rain, European countries need to preserve all the water they can get, and fast. According to The Economist, around 25% of Europe’s water is lost to leaks. The Italians, famous for their complex aqueducts, are the worst offenders. Italy is losing triple the amount that Britain does. And Britain’s numbers shouldn’t be aspired to — with the equivalent of “over half-a-million Olympic swimming pools a year” lost yearly. “Ticking timebombs” — that’s how engineers at Mueller Water Products in the Clean Water & Waste ETF (C5KW) refer to small leaks. The company primarily operates in the US and has implemented large-scale leak detection projects. According to Mueller, water systems fail because “a very small leak…develops to a larger leak which eventually develops to a sinkhole”. Mueller’s advanced water leakage detection systems track small leaks before they become big ones. Its leak detection system in Las Vegas helped detect 1,600 underground leaks and saved 290 million gallons of water. Is it time Europe invested more in monitoring its ancient water systems?