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The 730 million gallon leak

A long undetected leak in a 12 inch fire plug likely led to over 730 million gallons (3 billion litres) of water being lost in the space of twenty years, according to

The long lasting leak in the city of Newburgh, New York, was discovered after the city began using new leak detection equipment. It has since been repaired by authorities.

“It is believed that this leak had been occurring since the early 1990’s and when we measured it at the time we stopped it and cut it off, it was leaking at approximately 100,000 gallons (455000 litres) per day,” City Manager Michael Ciaravino said, according to the

An aging infrastructure means water management has been a problem in Newburgh for the last few years. According to an article published in 2016 in the Times Herald Record, in 2015 the city produced some 1.7 billion gallons of water for consumption, but lost 2.3 million gallons a day due to leaks. The severity of the problem in the city only became apparent after data analysis revealed a massive difference between the volume of water prepared for consumption, and the amount businesses and private consumers were actually being billed for. Estimates for losses suggested that up to half the water prepared for consumption was being wasted.