Lantana General Manager Kevin Mercer reported that between June 1 and October 20, he has received 236 inquiries from residents concerned about their water bills. The calls generated 127 investigations where a district employee visited the home to check the meter and 15 leaks were found, all on the homeowners’ side of the meter.
“The majority of these leaks that we do find are back in the bathroom… it’s the toilet flappers that are leaking,” said Mercer.
Another source of undetected leaks involve irrigation systems.
“About 80 percent of the water that goes through your meter ends up on your lawn,” said Mercer.
“I would strongly recommend everybody, at least once or twice a year, go put your sprinkler in test mode and walk around your yard as it rotates through the zones. Make sure you don’t have broken or missing heads shooting a fountain up at 3 o’clock in the morning that no one knows about.”
Residents can also request a flow test, which is used to determine if a water meter is properly calibrated.
Mercer said that in the rare cases where he has witnessed a water meter malfunctioning, the discrepancy always favored the homeowner.
“Meters never speed up, they only slow down with age due to calcification buildup in the meter. It’s always to the homeowner’s advantage, never to the city’s advantage.”
Mercer said the bottom line is that water usage was way up this summer all over North Texas due to drought-like conditions that persisted for several months. He added that he suspects the number of water bill complaints will drop this fall due to the onset of wet weather.