Detecting Leaks and Reading Your Water Meter

  • Experiencing a water service interruption?

    Unplanned water interruptions usually occur due to a leak or burst in a water main. Changes in rainfall, temperature, water pressure and ground movement can cause water pipes to leak or burst. We are constantly maintaining and upgrading our network to minimise the number and duration of outages. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by unplanned water supply interruptions. 

    Spotted a leak in the street?

    We work to prevent leaks from our network of pipes, but if you see a leak in the road or on the footpath, please contact us. The sooner we know about a leak, the sooner we can fix it.

    What causes water pipes to leak?

    Leaks happen for many different reasons. For example, changes in rainfall, temperature, soil type, water pressure and condition of pipes.

    What sort of leaks should I report?

    We are responsible for your water meter and the pipe leading away from your meter to the water main. Please report any leaks you see from these pipes (for example on the road, footpath or nature strip).

    How do I know it’s a water leak?

    Leaks can appear as flowing or trickling clear water or they can appear as a damp patch that doesn’t dry up over a couple of days. Water that has formed a puddle and appears after heavy rainfall may not be the result of a leak.

    How do I report the leak?

    We have a dedicated team to respond to faults and emergencies 24 hours a day. Please contact us to report any leaks. Please do not attempt to fix the leak yourself. 

    Does your property have no water?

    A water service interruption can be caused by problems within your property’s plumbing, or a burst pipe, leak or fault in the area.

    1. Check to see if we have left a notification card in your letterbox
      We always try to give residents advance notice of any work we’re doing in a particular area. Sometimes it’s not possible to give advance notice of such works, for example, during an unplanned incident (such as a burst water main or power outage). 
    2. Check if the tap is on, your water meter is turned on
      The water meter controls the flow of water into your property. Using a spanner if required, turn the tap gently until you feel resistance (do not force it). If it is already fully open, the tap will not move. 
    3. Check with your neighbours
      It may be possible that your neighbours are experiencing a similar issue. If they’re not, this may indicate a problem with your private plumbing. The location of the problem will determine who is responsible for fixing it.
    4. Try your cold kitchen tap
      The main water supply normally enters your home in the cold kitchen or laundry room tap. If water comes out of this tap but not elsewhere (such as your shower or bathroom tap), the problem is with your internal plumbing. 
    5. Call us
      If you have tried all the above and cannot identify the problem, please contact us to report the issue. We will arrange one of our plumbers to visit your property and investigate the issue and respond to incidents as quickly as possible.
  • Identifying Leaks on Your Property

    If you’ve received communication from Council advising that your water usage is higher than normal, you have received a higher than normal water usage notice, or you’ve noticed damp or wet patches in or around your property, you may have a leak.

    Use Your Water Meter to Identify a Leak

    • Turn off all internal and external taps and ensure no water using appliances are operating
    • Write down or take a photo of the numbers displayed on your water meter
    • Do not turn the tap/ valve at the meter
    • Do not use any water for at least one hour (including flushing the toilet). You may like to complete this test overnight.
    • Read the numbers on your meter again, paying attention to the red numbers.
    • If you observe the dials of the meter turning, or there has been an increase in the numbers you recorded, you may have a leak.
    • If you are unable to locate the source of a leak, you can engage a licensed plumber or leak detection service to assist you.
    • If you live in a Body Corporate, you may need to contact your Body Corporate for advice

    We recommend that property owners/ tenants regularly check the reading on their water meter so that any jump in consumption can be investigated quickly.

    A helpful reminder to read your water meter is to take a reading or photo each time you take the waste bin to the kerb for collection. This will also help make you aware of how much water your property consumes on a weekly basis.

    Signs You Have a Leak

    Leaks from pipes, plumbing fixtures and fittings can occur in any property, at any time, regardless of its age, location, or construction method. They can occur in new homes, old homes, inside, above or under the ground

    Visible Leaks: Things to Check For

    • Taps and sinks – check to see if any taps are dripping. Dripping taps will often just need a replacement washer.
    • Kitchen – check to see if there is water pooling under the dishwasher or fridge (if it’s connected to the plumbing). You should also look for warped or discoloured cupboards, bench tops or walls. This is a sign that water is leaking from somewhere close by.
    • Bathroom – check to see if the toilet cistern is continually running
    • Laundry – Check for water pooling under the washing machine or laundry tub. If you see pooling water in these areas, check the hoses connecting the washing machine to see if they are cracked, frayed, bulging or wet.
    • Yard – If you can see wet patches or bright green areas of grass in your yard, this could indicate that there is a leak in a pipe underground
    • Your water meter – check to see if there is water leaking from your water meter.

    Less Obvious Leaks/Concealed Leaks: Things to Check For

    • Yard – wet or damp patches in the yard during the dry season
    • Unexpected increase in usage
    • A noticeable reduction in water pressure
    • Outside – Some cracking in paved areas
    • Internal surfaces – Warped or discoloured walls or floorboards
    • Damp carpets
    • Hot water system – Drips of the side of the hot water system
    • Irrigation systems – check your gardens for hidden irrigation pipes that may be leaking. You may also like to check how long the timers are set for to run your irrigation system
    • Solar hot water/ pool heating systems – check for leaks from the unit and associated pipework
    • Water tanks – if your tank can draw water from the main supply, check that the auto top-up valve is functioning correctly
    • Pools – if your pool has auto top-up, check it’s not topping up continuously. Also, check your pool for leaks

    Irrigation Systems

    • Irrigation systems often use the most water in a household and leaks in these systems can be costly
    • Regularly test your garden irrigation system for leaks
  • A Concealed leak refers to a leak within a properties internal water infrastructure (up to and including where the pipes connect to the meter) that is not apparent.

    If you have found and repaired a leak that meets one of the following conditions, you may be eligible for a concealed leak remission if:

    • The leak was hidden from view and no visible signs indicative of a leak due to:
      • It being at a considerable depth
      • Underneath a building
      • Underneath a footpath
      • Underneath concrete

    There may be circumstances where a remission is not able to be granted. For full details, please refer to the Concession for Concealed Water Leaks Policy.

    A Concealed Water Leakage Application must include:

    • Copy of the plumber’s invoice or plumbers report
    • Photos of the leak
    • Completed concealed leak application form
    • Confirmation that water use has returned to normal

    We will assess the details on your application and may grant a concession for par of the water usage account.

  • Your water meter measures water usage at your property. Council aims to read your water meter twice a year in approximately December and June for the purposes of billing water consumption. You can see the date your meter was read on your water usage notice.

    Locating your water meter

    Water meters are usually located in front of your property, usually on the right or left hand boundary. However, on occasions, the meter will be found in the centre front boundary or another location. Please contact Council on 1300 972 573 if you are unable to locate your water meter.

    Please keep in mind that if you live in a Body Corporate complex, you may not have individual meters for each residence.

    Why wasn’t my meter read?

    If Council hasn’t been able to read your meter, it’s usually because of one of the following reasons:

    • Landscaping or vegetation was covering the meter
    • The meter was behind a locked gate
    • Construction or other works prevented access to the meter
    • Dog or other animal prevented access
    • The meter has stopped registering

    What happens when we can’t access your meter to take a reading, or the meter isn’t registering?

    • Council will estimate the water consumption on your water usage notice based on previous usage at your property
    • As Council estimates the water usage charges, we are unable to detect a possible leak on your property
    • If your meter isn’t registering, Council may replace it with a new meter, or repair the meter if possible

    It is the responsibility of the property owner/ tenant to keep the area around the water meter clean and clear for access by Council staff.

    What you need to do

    Ensure your water meter is always clear of obstruction and accessible by the meter readers. This is your responsibility under the Water Supply Act (Safety and Reliability) 2008.

    Keep your meter accessible

    • Keep vegetation and surrounding plants trimmed
    • Clear excess mulch/ garden material
    • Ensure that landscaping such as paving, turf and decking are not covering the meter

    How to read your water meter

    There are different kinds of water meters in the Whitsunday region. Most water meters contain black and red numbers. Black numbers refer to the kilolitres* of water used, and the red dials refer to the litres of water used.

    Your water meter has a unique serial number. This should match the number located on your water usage notice. If this does not match, please call Council on 1300 972 753.

    *1 kilolitre = 1,000 litres

    Detecting Leaks and Reading Your Water Meter

    Water meter reading
    Image courtesy of Queensland Urban Utilities.

    I think my water meter is faulty

    Water meters are very accurate and reliable; however, if you have cause for concern about the accuracy of your meter, you may request a meter test. A fee may apply.

    My water meter is damaged. What should I do?

    If your water meter appears to be damaged, please contact us for assistance.

    Interference with a water meter

    Interfering with a water meter it is an offence in the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008, Chapter 2 Infrastructure and Service – Part 7 Offences – Section 192 - Interfering with service providers infrastructure. 
    (1) A person must not, without written consent of a service provider, interfere with a service provider’s infrastructure. Maximum penalty 100 penalty points (1 point = $133.85)

    Commercial Relocation of Meter

    You will need to submit a Site Plan showing the new location of the water meter. Plans must show two dimensions, for example the distances from side boundary and front boundary. Fees applicable for the relocation of a meter will be detailed as part of our quote and will be invoiced after the job is complete. Once the quote is accepted, we will commence the proposed work.

    Residential Relocation of Meter

    You will need to submit a Site Plan showing the new location of the water meter showing two dimensions, for example the distances from side boundary and front boundary. Fees will be charged for the disconnection of a meter at the existing site and for the reconnection of a meter to a proposed location.


    We use a standard application and approval process to manage the installation of sub-meters. If you would like to apply to install Sub-Meters to a new or existing development, please refer to the below documents and checklists:

    1. Sub-Metering policy
    2. Sub-Metering policy - supporting Technical Guidelines
    3. Application to install Sub-Meters
    4. Notice to Water Service provider
  • To connect or disconnect a water meter to a residential or commercial property, you will need to lodge an application.

    Once the application is received and payment has been processed your connection will be made within 7 - 10 business days, weather permitting.

    Current fees and charges apply.