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Water Leaks


Finding Leaks

The three most common places where leaks occur are in a) main service line between the meter and the house/building, b) toilets, and c) outdoor irrigation systems. Leaks are usually not seen or heard- that’s how your meter and your WaterSmart web portal can help! If you have not yet signed up for WaterSmart with a password, do so immediately so you can see your hourly water use. This will give you clues about the source of the leak. Call us if you need help looking at your use chart.

Before trubleshooting, check your water meter for movement after shutting off all water-using appliances and fixures.

Click here for instructions on how to read your water meter

1. Checking for Service Line Leaks

If you have a “house valve” where the water enters your home or building, you can turn it off to isolate whether a possible leak is indoors or out. First turn off all water inside and outside the building and then look at your meter to see if it is moving. If it is moving, turn the house valve off. Now go back to meter—if stops moving, it is likely the potential leak is indoors. If the meter continues to move, the leak is likely in the service line or irrigation system- whatever is between the meter and that valve.

2. Checking for Toilet Leaks Toilet Dye

Toilets alone can leak up to 200 gallons per day. The District offers free toilet leak detector dye strips to help you check for flapper valve leaks (you can also use 3-5 drops of food coloring).

  • Put the District's free dye strips in the toilet tank (or use 3-5 drops of food coloring).
  • Don't flush the toilet for about 15-20 minutes, then check the toilet bowl to see if colored water has escaped into it from the tank.
  • If you see colored water in the bowl, you should replace the flapper and/or adjust the tank water level via the fill valve.
  • Remove the flapper and bring to the hardware store if you are buying locally, as there are over 80 flapper valves to choose from!

3. Checking for Irrigation Leaks

  • Run each valve for 5 minutes and check for run-off or mis-directed or leaking valves or heads. Valves can be taken apart and serviced or replaced.
  • Wet spots, mud and eroding soil may indicate a broken pipe or sprinkler head. Dry patches in your lawn could also be a sign that a sprinkler is damaged.
  • Wet spots on pavement also indicate possible leaks, malfunctioning sprinkler heads or controllers set for too long (or broken).  Watch your sprinklers to determine which one(s) is showering the pavement. Turn off the water and adjust, repair or replace the sprinkler head or seal to riser.
  • If you can’t locate a leak yourself a plumber, irrigation specialist, or leak detection company can be hired. The District cannot make reccomendations for private companies.

4. Using WaterSmart

Customers can use the WaterSmart Portal to view their water use on a 12-24 hour delay, thanks to the District’s intelligent water meter program. WaterSmart can be used to see when leaks started, stopped, or got worse. You may be able to correlate this data with things you did on your propriety and determine a possible cause of the issue.

The District recommends that customers who have recently repaired water leaks continue to monitor their water use though WaterSmart for 4-10 days after repairs are made to ensure any work done completely resolved the issue, and periodically afterwords. Click here for more information about WaterSmart and i-meters.

Leak Adjustment Program

The District’s Leak Adjustment Program was created to ease the financial burden after a customer has experienced an unusually high water bill due to a water leak outside of their control.

Customers who submit proof of repair may be eligible for a 75% credit of the difference of the tiered portion of their bill, as compared to the year prior. The following documents are accepted as a proof of repairs: 1) repair bill, or 2) receipt for repair parts and photo depicting the repair. Customers who do not submit proof of repair may be eligible for a lower adjustment.

Leak adjustments are granted once every five years on a case by case basis and must be made in a timely manner. (The small number of customers that don’t yet have an i-Meter and WaterSmart, are now eligible for a leak adjustment every year.) 

To qualify for a leak adjustment you must repair the leak and submit a Leak Adjustment form along with repair documentation. Submission can be sent to the District office at 2 Civic Center Drive Scotts Valley, CA 95066 or by email to contact@svwd.org. Requests are evaluated at the end of the month in which they are submitted and are generally processed within four to eight weeks.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Customer Service at 831-438-2363.

You can read more about the program here:Leak Adjustment Program

To find the request form, click here: Leak Adjustment Form