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C.C. Cragin Reservoir
(Blue Ridge)

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Questions About High Water Usage?

High Water Usage may not indicate an error on your water bill.
Sudden changes in water use may be caused by any of the following:

LANDSCAPING - Water consumption for landscaping may increase in the summer months because of the hotter, drier weather. If your bill is unusually high, it may have also been caused by your landscape watering practices. Verify that the timer for your automatic sprinklers or drip system is not set to operate too frequently or for too long a period of time.  You may also want to check your timer for proper operation after a power outage. Watering during the coolest and calmest periods (early morning or after sunset) minimizes water loss caused by evaporation and wind.

If you water your landscape manually, be careful not to over-water. A standard garden hose can use as much as 20 gallons of water each minute.  A hose left running accidentally can waste as much as 28,000 gallons of water every 24 hours!

CONDUCT A WATER AUDIT IN YOUR HOME
To determine whether a leak is causing high water usage, perform a water use test in your home.

First, locate your water meter (Most meters are installed in a buried cement box with a metal lid at the edge of the property near the street. The lid should have a black plastic disk set into the middle of it).

Once you have located the meter, CAREFULLY remove the metal lid so that you don’t damage the wires that connect the black disk on the lid (the electronic meter reader) with the meter. The water meter is brass with a white face and an odometer style dial. If the glass face of the meter is dirty, wipe it clean with a damp cloth so that you can read the display. CAUTION: Water meter boxes are a favorite home of black widow spiders and wasps.

Turn off all devices that use water in your house, including any sprinkler or landscape irrigation system. Then, record the numbers on the water meter display and locate the small, black triangle at the center of the meter face. (This triangle will rotate when water is moving through the meter). Wait for at least two hours without using any water. Then, record the numbers on the water meter display again. If you haven’t used any water and you don’t have a leak, the two readings that you recorded should be the same. If the reading changed during the two hour period, and the black triangle on the display face moved, you may have a water leak.

FINDING THE PROBLEM - If your water meter reading changed when performing the “Water Use Test” described above, you may have a water leak on your property. This type of leak is your responsibility to repair.

An underground leak may not be apparent on the surface of the ground. In most areas of town, Payson’s soil is loose and rocky and will drain quickly. Instead of causing puddles or soggy spots, a water leak may result in unexpected vegetation or patches of lush grass or weeds.

Another common cause of water leaks is a malfunctioning toilet. A continuously running toilet can waste as much as 4,000 gallons of water per day! And, even a slow, silent leak can add gallons to your bill.

To check your toilet for leaks, add a few drops of food coloring or a package of toilet dye to the tank. Wait ten minutes. If the coloring or dye seeps through to the toilet bowl, replace the flapper valve and/or the rubber gasket at the bottom of the tank to fix the leak.

Toilet leaks may also occur at the overflow pipe in the tank. If overflow is the problem, a screw or knob on the valve or valve column will adjust the float arm down so the valve shuts off the water about a half-inch below the top of the overflow pipe. If that doesn’t fix the problem, the valve may be worn and need to be replaced. If you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you can do the job. Otherwise, call a plumber.

Check all the faucets and hose bibs at your home for leaks. Even a slow drip can result in an increase of up to 5,000 gallons on your monthly bill.

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