Impact of Sprinklers on Fire Flow Water Consumption

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Fire Flow Water Consumption in Sprinklered and Unsprinklered Buildings: An Assessment of Community Impacts"
Author: Code Consultants, Inc.
Date of issue: February 2012

Foreword

Over the past thirty years, selected municipal water authorities have implemented strategies, including stand by fees and other policies, to recover costs for water consumed in fires in sprinklered buildings. Typically these fees are not directly related to sprinkler fire flows but rather are recognition of the fact that these flows are not metered and thus not accounted for in conventional water cost recovery mechanisms. In contrast, water consumption at fires at unsprinklered properties is typically not subject to fees nor metered at the hydrant. With the growing adoption of residential sprinkler ordinances in communities across the country, the National Fire Protection Association commissioned this study  to assess the relative community impacts of water consumption in sprinklered and unsprinklered properties.

The study considered standard estimates of the amount of water expected to be used in various building types with and without automatic sprinkler protection during a fire condition and also estimated the water used per year for commissioning, inspection, testing and maintenance of buildings with systems for each building type. The total amount of water anticipated to be used for fire protection was compared with fees in sample jurisdictions; methods were developed to calculate fire water fees that are proportional to the anticipated volume of fire water used.

 

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