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Identifying Leaks

There are several styles of water meters installed throughout the Shoalhaven but basically they all operate the same. Every water meter installed upon properties meet the applicable Australian Standard. Shoalhaven Water embraces the “National Framework for Urban Water Metering” and the metering code of practice. 

water meter Water meters record the amount of water your house consumes

Your water meter records the amount of water your household consumes and this is used to calculate your bill. Shoalhaven Water reads the black numbers only and charge per kilolitre.

To assist with correct reading of the water meter it is important to ensure that it is always accessible. Shrubs, landscaping and barriers should never hide or obstruct access to the meter.

Reading the water meter regularly can identify any sudden change in the water use. Identifying a problem early will reduce the impact on the water use component of the account. The water meter is generally located at the front of the property and it records water usage in kilolitres, which is per thousand litres.

water meter dial

Note: 1 kilolitre = 1000 litres

Shoalhaven Water recommends that if customers are away or not regularly at their property that the water meter be turned off to prevent water flow to the property. An undetected water leak can even attract termites.

By keeping a record of your own water use for different water based activities, you can determine how much water you use every time you do a load a washing or put the dishwasher on. Keep a daily record and multiply the amount by seven (7) and you will have a weekly indication of how much water you use just on these activities.

Identifying leaks

To help avoid costly repairs and unnecessary water usage charges we have created a simple three-step test that only takes a few minutes to complete. To perform the test you will need to know how to read your meter.  

  • Find the water meter and record the reading. Make sure not to use any water afterwards for a few hours. Just before bed is a good time.
  • Read the meter again a few hours later (or in the morning) making sure no water has been used during the test period.
  • Compare the two sets of numbers. If they are the same there are no leaks. If they are different, subtract the first reading from the second and the difference will tell you how bad the leak is if water cannot be accounted for.

What to do if a water leak is possible?

If it is discovered that a leak on the property may be present, call a Licensed Plumber to find or fix the leak as soon as possible. Any water that passes through the meter (including water lost through leaks) will be charged to the property owner.

If a leak is repaired by a Licensed Plumber eligibility for a rebate might be possible. Download Shoalhaven Water’s Undetected Leak Reduction Policy.

Other ways to reduce the chance of leaks

Water leaks can occur if internal pipes within the property are not appropriately sized or of sufficient quality. When laying house, installing garden or using pipes for rural purposes which are directly connected from the meter, ensure the appropriate grade of poly pipes is used.

As a guide:

  • The thicker grade ‘metric poly pipes’ are generally rated to 1,250 kpa against the rural grade B poly pipes’ which are only rated to 600 kpa.
  • Only metric poly pipes should be used as an internal line connected directly from the water meter.
  • If customers are going away or not regularly using the property, turn the water meter off to prevent the chance of water loss. A padlock can also be attached to the water meter to prevent unauthorised water use.
  • Ensure the lines are installed subsurface to avoid solar or accidental damage. This is particularly important on rural properties with animals.

A leak can cost!

A dripping cold water tap or an unexpected leak on the property can lose thousands of litres of water over a three month period adding unnecessary cost to the account. They waste substantial amounts of water and may be hidden from view.

The following is an approximate guide on how much water is used on average by dripping taps and leaks around the home.

Slow dripping tap can waste up to 30 litres of water per day which is around 2,700 litres (2.7kL) of water per quarter.

Fast dripping tap or leaky cistern can waste up to 316 litres of water per day, around 28,000 litres (28kL) per quarter.

Flow (small leak eg pin hole leak) can waste up to 2,800 litres of water per day which is around 252,000 litres (252kL) of water per quarter.

Full flow (equivalent to a tap turned on full) can waste up to 20 litres per minute which is around 28,000 litres (28kL) of water per day. This amount of water if left unattended could end up being around 2,592,000 litres of water charged to the account for the quarter which could end up costing thousands of unexpected dollars.

If a customer does experience a leak on the property there may be an entitlement to a reduction on the account, download Council’s Undetected Leak Reduction Policy for further details.

Water pressure

The water pressure supplied by Shoalhaven Water is provided to the boundary of a property generally between 15 metres and 90 metres head of water. The pressure within these limits may vary between properties and will depend on the property’s distance from the nearest pump station or gravity point.

For properties located in an area of higher water pressure range, the use of a pressure limiting valve to vary the degree of supply downstream from the water meter is recommended where reduced pressure is preferred.

A pressure limiting device can generally be purchased from plumbing supplies or hardware outlets and, privately installed downstream of the meter.

Monitor water usage through the meter regularly and if absent from the property for any lengthy period; consider turning the water off at the meter.