Pie chart

This chart shows how residential water users consume water. As the chart says, leaks can account for 10,000 gallons of wasted water per year, per household.

In a recent utility bill insert, Colorado Springs Utilities provided a pie chart showing how water is used for residential purposes.

According to the chart, 11 percent is lost to "leaks/other," which sounds like a lot, so we asked about that.

Turns out, not all of that is leaks. Only about 7 percent is leaks; the balance goes to vehicle and hard surface washing, filling pools or hot tubs, and the like.

"Common types of leaks found in the home are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and other leaking valves," Utilities spokesperson Danielle Nieves Oller says via email. "These types of leaks are often easily correctable, and we frequently offer tips and education to customers about this issue as well as a leak adjustment for their bill in some cases."

Go here for how to prevent leaks.

Nieves Oller notes that "water-wise" rules implemented as part of the water shortage ordinance adopted last year require customers to fix leaking sprinkler systems within 10 days.

"Not only is it important for customers to fix leaks to conserve water and prevent wasting precious water resources, we estimate fixing leaks can save on average 6 to 10% on their monthly water bill," she says.

For businesses, Utilities offers free indoor water evaluations, called audits, conducted by a water conservation specialist to analyze the efficiency of fixtures and appliances, for instance. The specialist will identify improvements to be made to save water and recommend efficiency measures.

As the drought continues to impact the western United States, it's important to conserve where possible, and it seems that Springs Utilities customers might be getting that message. Nieves Oller says leakage has declined a bit in residential use, from 9 percent to 7 percent since 1999.

Senior Reporter

Pam Zubeck is a graduate from Emporia State University. She worked at the Tulsa Tribune before coming to Colorado Springs, where she spent 16 years at the Gazette and in 2009 joined Colorado Publishing House.