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Broken Pipes and Water Leaks Can Waste Thousands of Gallons

February 19, 2021

NTMWD urges anyone experiencing a pipe burst or water leak to take immediate action to isolate the leak and minimize water loss. Contact your city or water utility if you need help shutting off your water main valve and for more information in isolating leaks and breaks.

Did you know?

A burst pipe can cause a lot of water to spill into a home or building. Here are the average water flow rates based on typical municipal water lines:

  • ½-inch pipe: 50 gallons per minute
  • ¾-inch pipe: 110 gallons per minute
  • 1-inch pipe: 210 gallons per minute
  • 2-inch pipe: 850 gallons per minute
  • 3-inch pipe: 1,900 gallons per minute
  • 4-inch pipe: 3,400 gallons per minute

Based on these average flows, here are some examples of how quickly water loss can occur:

  • A 24-foot above-ground round pool, 5 foot deep, contains roughly 16,000 gallons of water. If the typical two-inch pipe for sprinklers breaks – that pool would fill in about 20 minutes.
  • If a standard half-inch pipe breaks and no one is home, in just a few hours there can be up to 10,000 gallons of water spilled.
  • A refrigerator water line typically flows at ½ to 1 gallon per minute (depending on water pressure). A leak can lose up to 700 – 1,400 gallons of water in 24 hours.
  • A single leak in toilet supply line, which flows at 2-3 gallons per minute, can lose up to 3,000-4,000 gallons each day.
  • A washing machine hose can leak up to 10-12 gallons per minute, causing the loss of more than 12,000 gallons in 24 hours.

Regardless of where the pipe burst occurs, the effects can be devastating and result in thousands of gallons of water lost. Learn more about what to do when a pipe bursts.