High Water Usage

Water in the desert is a premium commodity, one that we shouldn’t waste. Many residents actively strive to use water efficiently, resulting in less water usage. The District has tiered water rates to encourage conservation, where customers pay accordingly, based on units of water (748 gallons).  As of August, 2014, the District has also implemented a “Water Efficiency Ordinance”.  To learn more, see:  Signed Ordinance Water Use

Things to consider if you have a higher than normal bill:

  1. We are always a month behind with the billing; look at the billing period dates on the bill
  2. Compare the prior month’s usage to the current usage to find out the difference.
  3. Next, compare last year’s usage with current to see if it is within your “normal” usage for that particular month of the year. Take in consideration fluctuation of usage due to past years weather patterns.


1. Have you checked all toilets in the house for leaks?

Suggestion: Use toilet dye tablets to detect leaks. Visit our Customer Service desk to receive the dye tablets free of charge.

2. Have you checked the kitchen and all other faucets in the house for leaks?

Suggestion: Use low flow sink aerators on all faucets. Visit our Customer Service desk to receive free aerators (if product is still available)

3. Are family members taking long showers?

Suggestion: Install a low-flow shower head which uses 2.5 gallons per minute.

4. Do you have lots of vegetation (plants and trees)?

5. Do you hand water your plants and trees with a hose?

6. Can you remember if you left a hose running for a long period of time?

7. Do you have and landscape irrigation or bubbler system?

8. Have you checked for irrigation leaks in your yard?

9. Do you have a leaky swamp cooler?

10. Do you have a pool, spa, or misters?

11. Did you have visitors during the billing period?


All of a Sudden, an Unusually High Water Bill!

How does an unusually high water bill occur?

There are several reasons why customers may suddenly find an unusually high water bill:

  • In the winter, a sudden cold spell may cause a freeze and a water pipe will burst. In the morning when the pipe thaws, the water will flow and if there is no one around, this can cause an unusual amount of water loss.
  • In the summer, sudden water usage can occur if water is forgotten when watering a tree or garden and left on overnight.
  • Sometimes, a plastic pipe can be accidentally torn-out or chewed by an animal trying to access the water.
  • Water theft.
  • And, of course, if the meter reader misreads the meter.
  • Are there other things that can cause higher water bills?
  • Leaks! Leaks can be very sneaky and costly; sometimes one can see them, other times they are difficult to detect. Leaky toilets can sometimes be heard, often not seen, many times ignored. A worn washer in a hose bib can allow a faucet to leak a great deal of water very quickly and sprinkler systems can be the source of a leak. Irrigation systems.
  • A pencil size stream can leak hundreds of gallons in a short time. One has to be very alert to find an underground leak. Damp soil, extra green grass, weeds or plants can be a clue. Sometimes an underground leak never surfaces.
  • Who is responsible for water losses?
  • Anything on the street side of the meter is the responsibility of the Water District. Please advise the District ASAP
  • if you notice a leak.
  • Anything on the property side of the meter is the responsibility of the tenant or owner of the property.

What can be done?

  • Check all pipes with a leak detector, and ask a neighbor if anyone was seen playing with faucets. Re-read your meter and confirm that the reading is higher now than the last reading amount on your water billing. If the reading is lower call the office to have the District re-read the meter.
  • As a final resolution, have the District pull and test your meter for accuracy. Meters typically run slower with age, not faster. At the time the meter is pulled for testing, it will be replaced with a new meter. Don’t be surprised if your water usage increases. Customers often notice an increase in their next water billing because a new meter runs more accurately.
  • Depending on the circumstances, The Board sometimes provides relief to customers unusually high water bills; also know as the Water Assistance Program (WAAP).

Why Should We Have to Check the Water System for Water Leaks?

  • A water bill higher than normal could be the result of a leak! Sometimes, these leaks are not visible and difficult to identify.
  • If you have reason to believe that you may have a leak that is hidden from view, here are some things you could do to help determine the possible location.
  • Turn-off all water use in your house such as washing machines, evaporative coolers, even icemakers if possible.
  • Also, make sure that irrigation or sprinkler valves are shut-off.
  • Check to see if the leak indicator on your water meter is moving, (that is the small triangle that is located on face of the meter) this will show small leaks, the ones that don’t show on the surface usually.
  • If the triangle indicator is moving very slowly you may have a leak.
  • To help you somewhat locate the area of the leak; normally there is a main valve where the water goes into house, (maybe by the hot water heater).
  • Shut that valve off and check the leak indicator again, if the movement has stopped, the leak is probably outside in the line before it reaches the house.
  • Check the area of the service pipe coming from your meter, and any outside faucets or irrigation that you may have a valve on.
  • Look for damp dirt and/or green vegetation that appear unusual on your property.

 

CONSERVATION TIPS
  • A 1/8 inch hole in a metal pipe, at 40 psi, leaks 2,500 gallons of water in 24 hours.
  • A leak the size of a pinhead can waste 360,000 gallons per year, enough to fill 12,000 bathtubs to the overflow mark.
  • A leaking toilet can use 90,000 gallons of water in 30 days.
  • A dripping faucet/hose bib can lose up to 180 gallons a month or 2,160 gallons per year.
  • Approximately 1 in every 20 pools has a leak.
  • Approximately 1 in every 318 homes or buildings has a leak.
  • A typical toilet leak at today’s rate can add $500 to a single water bill.
  • One trip through a car wash uses 150 gallons of drinking water.
  • Collecting water for gardening from the faucet while waiting for hot water saves about 250 gallons of water a month.
  • Using a broom to clean the sidewalk instead of a hose saves 150 gallons of water.
  • Using a pool cover prevents about 1,000 gallons per month from evaporating.

General Watering

Things we can do to adapt outside water use to the natural cyclical dry conditions as well as save money:

  • Consider native and drought-tolerant plants and grasses when making landscape choices and adjust your watering to take advatage of the less-thirsty plants.
  • Get your irrigation system tuned up for efficiency. When was the last time you actually watched all the sprinklers in action? Are you sure there aren’t any geysers coming out of your front yard?
  • Adjust your sprinklers so there is less watering on cool and overcast days and don’t water when it’s raining.
  • Water your lawn when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back when you lift your foot, it doesn’t need water. Reduce the number of days your automatic sprinklers run during the cooler months between October and April.
  • Consider reusing some household water to irrigate your landscaping by using a gray water system or by using a bucket.
  • Water your lawn during the cool times of the day and preferably on less windy days. Early morning is better than dusk. Less watering means less prolific growth, therefore less mowing and fertilizer is needed.
  • Set lawn mower blades one notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation
  • Adjust your automatic sprinklers so that water lands only on your lawn or garden where it belongs and not on the sidewalk or street.
  • If you have a pool or spa, use an insulated cover to cut down on evaporation. It also will keep your pool or spa cleaner and reduce the need to add chemicals.
  • If you have an evaporative air conditioner, direct the water drain line to a flowerbed, tree base or lawn.
  • Put a layer of mulch around trees and plants. Chunks of bark, peat moss or gravel slow evaporation.
  • As much as 30 percent of water can be lost to evaporation by watering the lawn during midday. It’s more efficient to water before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m., and to avoid watering on windy days.
  • Water in several short sessions rather than one long one. Three ten-minute sessions spaced 30 minutes to an hour apart, for example, will allow your lawn to better absorb moisture than one straight 30-minute session.
  • Don’t water unless your lawn needs it. Over-watering promotes shallow root growth and makes your lawn less hardy. To determine if your lawn needs watering, walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, it’s time to water.
  • You can also install moisture sensors in your lawn’s sunny and shady areas to pinpoint if you need to water.
Sprinkler systems
  • Homes with in-ground sprinkler systems use 35 percent more water outdoors than homes without in-ground systems. One reason may be that system controllers are not adjusted to meet irrigation needs as the seasons change.
  • Adjust the timer on automatic sprinklers according to seasonal water demands and weather conditions. Install a rain shut-off device on automatic sprinklers so you’re not watering when the ground is already wet.
  • Check sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks. Keep the heads in good repair.
  • Avoid sprinklers that spray a fine mist, which increases evaporation.
  • Make sure your sprinkler is placed so it only waters the lawn, not the pavement.
Drip Irrigation
  • Install a drip irrigation system for watering gardens, trees and shrubs. Drip irrigation provides a slow, steady trickle of water to plants at their roots through a network of pipes and hoses. The systems are regulated by a controller that can be adjusted for different levels of watering according to the needs of the plants. Drip irrigation systems reduce over-watering, inefficient watering, weed growth, and the time and labor involved in hand watering.
Pools and Spas
  • Consider installing a pool cover to save energy and money. As much as 70 percent of a pool’s heat loss is caused by evaporation.
  • You can save substantially by reducing your pool’s water temperature and the number of months you heat your pool.
  • Keep your pool’s cleaning and heating equipment clean and lubricated to make it as efficient as possible.
  • Switch your pool filter and sweeper operations to off-peak hours – hours other than hot summer afternoons, when electricity use is high and prices increase. If you have a time-of-use meter, this can save you money. Off-peak hours are between 6 p.m. and noon weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday.
  • Shorten the operating time for your swimming pool filter and- if your pool has one – your automatic cleaning sweep. In the winter, two hours a day of filtering could cut your filter’s energy use by 40 percent to 50 percent, yet keep your pool clean.

Household Measures

  • Check your water meter to see if there are any leaks. If it’s spinning and there’s no water being used, there is probably an undetected leak somewhere.
  • The next time a plumber visits have them check your household water pressure. If it is over 80 psi, have a pressure regulator installed outside.
  • While waiting for the shower to warm up, catch the cold water in a container to use on outside plants.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or while shaving.
  • When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water.
  • If you only have one sink, use a spray device or short blasts instead of letting the water run.
  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator to avoid running the faucet to cool the water.
  • Defrost frozen foods without running water. Either plan ahead by placing frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave.
  • Clean vegetables by rinsing them in a filled sink or pan.
  • Use the garbage disposal less and garbage can more.
  • Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. If you only have a few dishes, it’s better to wash them in the sink.

Additional Water Saving Tips

  • Change your old toilet with a new water-efficient model. Since 1994, that’s the only kind you can buy in California.
  • Select a high-efficiency clothes washer when replacing your old machine.
  • Check to see if your toilets are leaking. Put some food coloring in the tank and see if it enters the bowl without flushing. If it does, try replacing the flapper.
  • Install a new water-efficient showerhead. It saves on hot water energy costs and stretches the availability of hot water for others.
  • Fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints inside and outside of your home.
  • Use a bucket while washing your car then give it a rinse with a hose fitted with a spray nozzle. Try washing your car on the front lawn.
  • If your automatic water softener recharges using a time clock, be sure it isn’t recharging too frequently and remember to turn it off when you go away for a few days.
  • Consider installing a point-of-use hot water dispenser. It uses less energy and water and there’s less waiting for hot water to arrive.
  • When taking your car to a car wash, be sure it’s one that recycles its wash water.
  • At a restaurant, turn your water glass upside down if you don’t want water. This saves the water you don’t drink and the water used to wash the glass.
  • Look at how water is used at your work and consider suggesting some of these same ideas to management. They’ll save water and sewer charges and improve their bottomline.
WATER USAGE FACTS

Believe it or not, the average water usage per person per day is 200 gallons.
Here’s how…

  • Showering wet down, soap up, rinse off = 4 gallons
  • Brushing teeth wet brush, rinse briefly, = 1/2 gallon
  • Shaving, fill sink basin = 1 gallon
  • Washing hands fill sink basin = 1 gallon
  • Tub bath minimal water level = 10 to 12 gallons
  • Flushing toilet using a smaller tank = 4 to 6 gallons
  • Dishwashing washing and rinsing in the sink = 5 gallons
  • Automatic dishwasher short cycle = 7 gallons
  • Washing machine short cycle with minimal water level = 27 gallons
  • Outdoor watering average hose = 10 gallons per minute
  • Leaks – even a small drip can add up to 25 gallons per day

 

The above gallon usage is calculated minimally. You can count on using quite a bit more if you leave the water running while brushing your teeth, shaving, washing the dishes, using old toilets that require more water, running the dishwasher and washing machines on longer cycles and filling the bath tub to the top. Remember, water is not cheap or limitless. Please use this natural resource wisely and save on your water bill.