Check for a leak

Don't jump to the conclusion that you have a private leak

You may not have expected a higher than usual water bill, so you'll no doubt be wondering what could have caused this spike. A higher than usual bill could be the result of a number of things, but the best place to start is by looking at your latest bill. We recommend you consider the following three scenarios for your higher than usual bill before checking for a leak. If you rule out scenarios 1-3, then please proceed to our advice on how to check for a leak.
Higher than usual bill? Is this a catch-up bill?

Step 1: Is this a catch-up bill?

If you've had a number of estimated bills in a row and this is your first actual read in some time, that could explain why your bill is higher than usual. On your invoice, estimated meter reads are shown on the 'billed usage history' graph with an E, whereas actual reads are indicated with an A. You should expect a pattern of one estimate followed by one actual meter read.

If this does not appear to be a catchup bill, proceed to step 2.
Higher than usual bill? Are more people living in your home?

Step 2: Has your water usage changed?

Your bill may be higher if you have extra people living in your home, it's summer, or you've been using more appliances.

More people or greater use of appliances will often lead to a higher bill.

Click here if you'd like to get a free water audit, thanks to EcoMatters. For more on this step, click here or proceed to step 3.

Higher than usual bill? Could your meter have been misread?

Step 3: Has your meter been read correctly?

Although we take every precaution, we may have read your meter incorrectly. To check if this has happened, you will need to read your meter. Water meters are usually located near or just outside your property boundary. They are in a box made of wood, plastic, concrete or metal. Find and read your meter.

If the meter reading seems right, you may have a leak.

Do you think you have a leak?

If you've ruled out steps 1-3, you may have a water leak on your property. Private leaks are your responsibility to fix, whereas leaks on the public network are our responsibility. Click here to see the diagram of your responsibilities and our responsibilities. If you find a leak on your property you will need to contact a registered plumber to fix it.

To find out how to check for a leak, watch the videos below and follow the process.

How to detect a leak (English language version)

How to detect a leak (Chinese language version)

Not sure which is your meter?

Check this guide: Which meter serves my property?

A simple test will help confirm if you have a leak

  • Pick a time when no water will be used for at least four hours – overnight is a good time.

  • Read your water meter, then read it again after the period of not using any water. Make sure you don’t use any water during the test. DO NOT turn off the tap on the meter during the test - you need to be able to see if the meter dial still moves while you are not using water, as this helps indicate a leak. For example, if you do an overnight test, you would read your meter at night before bed, then again the first thing in the morning. Find and read your water meter

  • If the meter numbers are higher, this shows that water is being used and it is likely you have a leak.

  • Read all the numbers on the dial (black and red squares). 

  • The example below shows that about 25 litres of water were used during the night. This indicates a leak.  


How to check for obvious leaks

  • Look for dripping taps.

  • Look behind your dishwasher and washing machine for any signs of water.

  • Check your toilet cisterns. Put a few drops of food colouring in the cistern. If colour ends up in the toilet bowl without flushing, you have a leak.

  • See if the hot water cylinder expansion relief valve is letting water drip into the gully trap.

  • In dry weather, look for damp patches in the garden, lawn or driveway.

  • Listen for running water inside your home when no taps, hoses or showers are turned on.

What if I can’t find any leaks?

If your meter dial is moving and no water has been used, you may need to call a registered plumber to check further.