Blog: Have a high water bill? Here’s what you can do.
COVID-19 has resulted in many people spending more time at home – which means using more water in the home for cooking, drinking, toilet flushing, handwashing and extra home hygiene measures. A lot of the water you might have previously used in the office is now being used in your own home. Because of this, you may have a higher-than-usual water bill.
If you are worried about a high bill, there are some things that you can do around your home to try and minimise the water you use. Not only is it good for your bank balance, it’s good for the environment too.
Water efficiency tips
You can take a few simple steps to reduce the amount of water you use, including:
- Install a low-flow showerhead, and limit your showers to 4 minutes or less.
- Choice buying guides: Showerheads
- Only use the washing machine or dishwasher for full loads, and always use the shortest, most efficient cycle.
- Install on your taps – you can purchase screw-on aerators from Bunnings which fit onto your taps. They maintain the feel of high flow-rate water while using only half the water.
- Use a broom to sweep outdoor areas rather than hosing them down.
- Use a bucket when washing your car or buy a hose nozzle with a trigger so you can easily turn the water flow on and off.
- Turn off the tap while cleaning your teeth or shaving.
- Upgrade your bigger appliances – such as your washing machine or dishwasher – to newer, more water efficient model. Interest-free or low-interest loans are available through the No Interest Loan Scheme and Step-Up Loan. These programs can help you buy a new appliance and pay it off over time.
- No Interest Loan Scheme website
- Step-Up Loan website
- Consider installing a water tank. This can be a big upfront cost, but if you have high water use it may be worth it in the long run.
- Consider what else might be using water and costing you money – do you have a pool? A fish tank? An irrigation system for your garden? These things can seriously impact your water use.
While being more water efficient is important, if you suddenly receive a very large water bill there might be more going on. Nobody likes receiving a huge water bill – but it can be especially frustrating when the cause of that high bill is a concealed leak.
Concealed water leaks
Concealed leaks occur when there is a cracked or damaged water pipe underground or inside your walls. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay for the lost water . You are responsible for the cost of any water used on your property.
Unfortunately, often the first time you know you have a concealed leak is when you receive a huge bill from your water provider. This can be a source of great distress and it can create disputes between water providers and their customers.
So how can we prevent concealed leaks? Well, it first pays to keep an eye out for obvious signs, such as:
- Water pooling or damp patches inside your home or around your property.
- Noticeable reduction in water pressure.
- Large tree roots which can damage underground pipes.
- Patches of grass which are greener than the rest of the lawn.
You can do a quick, two minute test to find out if you have a concealed leak.
If you think you have a concealed leak, call a licensed plumber immediately. If you are a renting, you should contact your landlord immediately as it is their responsibility to have it fixed.
You should also contact your water provider. Even though you are responsible for the cost of any water leaks on your property, your water provider may be able to help. Most water providers have a Concealed Leaks Policy available on their website which sets out what they offer. You can ask them:
- If they can offer a remission to help you pay for the leak.
- If they will agree to a payment plan to help you pay for the leak in instalments.
What else could be going on?
If you don’t have a leak but you have received an unusually large water bill, there might be something else going on. Check out this advice from Queensland Urban Utilities and UnityWater on what to do if your water bill is higher than normal.
Where can I get more information?
For more information and advice on water efficiency, check out these handy resources:
- Queensland Government: Using Water Wisely
- Seqwater: Water Wise tips
- Choice: Top 5 tips for saving water
- Queensland Urban Utilities: Save water at home
- UnityWater: Water efficiency tips
For more information about concealed leaks, visit: