knowledge - water meters
Measurement enables us to understand our household water use or overuse. It provides us with answers to specific questions such as:
Do I have any leaks? i.e. is my water use higher than it should be?
Am I using too much water in my daily activities?
Have the measures I have put in place
What should we measure?
As mentioned to you earlier measurement is important to better understand your water use.
Monthly water bill is a useful measurement already done for you by the council: If you are like most people you probably receive a monthly water bill and do not take a great deal of notice of it. Your monthly water bill however can give you a good indication of water use and usage patterns. You will hopefully have a number of water bills over several months or years and essentially, you can take use these water bills which will have your consumption on them to pick up long term trends and determine seasonal water use. The reading periods are not always consistent so you will need to take your consumption and divide it by the number of days that have passed. Once you have this number you can compare it to your other months of the year and the long term average. If the average has increased over time this can indicate a leak. Additionally, seasonal variations can give you some indication of the level of water use for watering and pool filling. Daily average consumption can also provide a useful benchmark to identify if your consumption is unusual indicating leakages or bad water use habits. (Click here to get monthly water audit tool)
Night time water use: Night time water use is a great indicator of potential water leakages on your property. Essentially, take a water reading from your water meter just before you retire for bed at night, then take another reading early in the morning before the household wakes up. The water consumption during the night should be zero or very close to zero, meaning the meter should not have moved except potentially if someone had got up for some water or flushed a toilet during the night this should be easy to establish (9-15 litres for flushing toilet and another couple of litres for washing hands). If water meter records a high value during the night you have potentially got a leak (see leakage identification section).
Continuous monitoring: For those who can afford it, continuous monitoring is a very good idea. New water meters that have been developed have the ability to constantly monitor water use taking measurements every several minutes. This information can be captured effectively by various instruments that can be installed in a house. The information can give indications of excessive use and also information on profile of water use in the home. These meters while expensive often save consumers money in the long run as they enable early leak detection and further can indicate poor water use habits and conditions. (Click here to find offerings for continuous metering).
Where can I find my water meter?
If you are receiving a monthly water bill from council you should have a water meter. Generally, water meters are outside the property (so the council worker can access them without disturbing you or accessing your property). If you have ever had to switch off your mains water supply then you will probably find the water meter in the same place. However, if you have not had to switch off your water, these are where you are most likely to find your water meters. They are usually in a protected plastic or metal box:
Near your driveway at the entrance to your property
On your driveway
Near the corner of the property
Please see attached pictures to identify what water meters generally look like.
What does the measurement tell us?
Measurement allows us to understand a number of key elements related to household water use:
Do we have a leak? Long term trends, night flow analysis and continuous measurement all enable us to identify if we have potential leaks (Please see leaks section on how to identify and fix leaks around the household). Fixing and reducing leakage is one of the most effective ways or reducing water usage in a household.
Are we using too much water? Long term averages can be compared against typical water uses and identified if water use is excessive when compared to local and international benchmarks. It can also be useful to have discussions with neighbors to identify if your water use is high compared to other households in your vicinity.
How much water are we using for specific activities? Longer term trends can give an indication on water use such as pool refilling and back-washing, irrigation and other water use which tends to be more seasonal. Additionally, it can also give an indication how much water is being used to specific activities compared to a baseline. Continuous water use can be very effective in understanding how much different appliances are being used in a home. Additionally, can indicate if water use has been excessive in a particular day.