Hundreds of millions of gallons of treated water are unaccounted for in Waterloo, Iowa — an ironic name given the situation.

The Waterloo Water Works said it is missing 851 million gallons of water. According to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, that’s enough to fill 1,300 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

“Frankly, we just don’t know where it went,” General Manager Dennis Clark told the Courier of the water unaccounted for in 2013.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Some, but perhaps not all, is non-metered water used for flushing hydrants and water mains and putting out fires, Clark told KWWL-TV .

“A lot of these things are hard to quantify so these go in this big bucket we call ‘unaccounted for water.’ That unaccounted for water is a factor of life for running a municipal utility company,” Clark told the news station.

Other sources of loss could be leaks, which the municipality is working to identify and repair quickly.

“We have been taking steps to reduce this number, including changing some of our metering policies, trying to get construction meters set more quickly, encouraging repairs to service lines as quickly as possible, and the purchase of a leak correlator to help locate water leaks in the distribution system,” Clark told the Courier.

While the average for unaccounted water is usually around 15 percent, in 2013 it was 18.5 percent. Clark also said that he expects the number to be even higher next year due to more flushing of hydrants and mains in the first few months of 2014 to keep them working in cold weather.

Front page image via Shutterstock.