Michael Tappenden had a water leak under his driveway which was losing one-and-a-half of these containers – 30 litres – every hour.
Michael Tappenden had a water leak under his driveway which was losing one-and-a-half of these containers – 30 litres – every hour. Alistair Brightman

New smart meters help save water

MICHAEL Tappenden didn't take much notice of the first leak letter sent to him by Wide Bay Water Corporation alerting him to high water usage.

He checked for leaks at his Dundowran home, and because he's a builder he knew what to look for, but couldn't find anything.

However, when the corporation sent him a second letter with a graph showing water usage during every hour of the day and it showed the water meter ticking over at night when everyone in the house was in bed, he called in a plumber.

Mr Tappenden, who owns Greencrest Homes, said it was pretty obvious there was a leak when 30 litres of water an hour was being used while everyone was asleep.

“If you're in clay it's really simple because when you get a leak you see puddles of water,” he said.

“But when you're in sand, if there's a leak you're not going to see it because it just soaks into the sand.”

Mr Tappenden said it had been four years since the house was built and the leak had only started in the past six months.

He and the plumber blocked off pipes to find the source of the leak and eventually narrowed it down to a pipe under the concrete driveway.

Instead of digging up the driveway to replace it, they ran a one-inch pipe through the leaking one-and-a-half-inch pipe to bypass the leak.

Mr Tappenden said he was waiting to get his next bill to double check that the leaking had stopped.

“You want to make sure that you don't waste stuff,” he said.

The installation of Smart Meters in Hervey Bay has allowed WBWC to identify suspected leaks and alert customers in a bid to save them money and water.

Each meter has a data logger which provides hourly water usage and since last November, WBWC has sent about 2500 letters to customers about possible leaks.



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