According to Newsnet5 on June 19th:

Northeast Ohio water customers and millions across the country are paying for water that never reaches their faucet.

Every community and every neighborhood across Northeast Ohio is plagued by the same water loss issue that faces water customers nationwide—an aging infrastructure that is slowly leaking 1.2 trillion gallons of water into the ground every year.

That’s enough to cover Cleveland with 122 feet of water—more than twice the average depth of Lake Erie.

And it costing ratepayers plenty—water rates are rising faster than any other utility.

In fact, in the last 20 years, rates have skyrocketed 90 percent.

Most of us can spot a dripping faucet and we have all seen water main breaks.

But most of the water loss occurs far underground– where you can’t see it.

And it’s something local utilities have been tracking for years.

In Cleveland, where 15 percent of the system’s pipes are older than 100 years, water officials report that water loss hits 30 billion gallons a year.

Water main breaks alone totaled 1,700 in 2014.

“We’re focusing at least 50 percent of our capital dollars on water line replacement,” says Cleveland Public Utility Director Robert L. Davis.

Davis says Cleveland is preparing for another, extensive water loss audit .

In Akron, water loss is estimated at 15 percent of 35 million gallons every day—or roughly 5 million gallons.

But in Cleveland Heights, water customers are losing 60 percent of the systems water every year—70 percent of that from leaking pipes.

Last year, Cleveland Heights had 60 water main breaks.

“As painful as it may beg for the rate increase to do the infrastructure improvements, I think it is probably worse to be paying for water that’s lost through a leaking system,” says City Manager Tanisha Briley.

The American Water Works Association, AWWA, has been working with local utilities to help track water loses.

For example, it provides free software to perform water audits.

“It makes little sense to invest in treating water to the highest standards, only to lose it on the way to the tap, says David LaFrance, AWWA Executive Director.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology, CNT,  is a Chicago-based advocacy group that has been working with AWWA to track water loss.

Water utilities and water customers across the country are watching their water and their money go down the drain because of leaks to the system and other loses in today’s outdated system,” says CNT’s Hal Sprague.

Sprague says water systems are losing 6 billion gallons a day nationwide.

Yet even the free water audits are available from the AWWA, the association reports that only a fraction of utilities across the country are taking advantage of it.