Measuring and monitoring water use
Water is a metered resource that can be easily measured and monitored. However, it is often a low priority and monitoring does not occur with enough frequency to reduce the risk of leaks and over-consumption. The follow information will help measure and monitor water use:
Water use is measured in cubic metres (m3). One cubic metre of water is 1000L. Use meter readings and bills (link) to determine annual quantities and costs of water. Review readings regularly to identify any changes in water use. Ensure that a review also considers changes to water use such as hours of operations, number of users on site, specific events, etc. The more frequently the water meter is read and consumption reviewed, the more likely any leaks or anomalies will be identified.
Measuring water using equipment
Measuring the flow rates of equipment can help determine if the amount is appropriate for need. Flow can be measured by noting quantity of water over time. Tap and showers can be measured by noting length of time needed to fill a 1 litre bucket. For toilets, the dimensions of the tank can be used to calculate the volume.
Not all water leaks are obvious. A damaged pipe or connection may leak below the ground with no visible effects. Pipes may leak because of age, temperature, or the presence of roots and other intrusions. The following are good ways to check for leaks:
- Turn off all water use on site and note the meter reading, then again in an hour. Any use noted in the second meter reading may indicate a leak
- Monitor water meter readings regularly (monthly or quarterly), consider investigating for leaks if any increases in water use cannot be explained.
- Inspect premises as well as equipment and pipes for signs of a leak (dampness, puddles, drips, etc.). The more frequently this is carried out, the easier a leak will be to spot.
- If you suspect a leak that you cannot see, contact your water supplier; they have devices that can identify less visible leaks.
What to do if you have a leak
- Report the leak to your water supplier
- Isolate the source of the leak
- Take appropriate action to contain the leak until it can be fixed