Every Drop Counts

There is a limit to the amount of water that we have and that can be supplied in the pipe system. As more people are born and move into our cities to live, and as more businesses are needed, so the same amount of water needs to be shared amongst us all. Therefore, every drop of water that is wasted through excessive use, incorrect use, wastage or leaks means less water for us, our neighbours and our businesses.

Leak­ fixing

A household leak can range from the loss of a few millilitres of water to hundreds of litres per minute. This water is fresh drinking water that is lost and is paid for, so leaks can be costly. Some leaks can be­ fixed yourself, but more complex issues need a quali­fied plumber. For leaks in your irrigation system use a registered irrigation expert to assist with repairs and replacements.

How to check for leaks

You can check for leaks if you have a water meter for your property. The best way to check for a leak is to make sure all taps in your home are closed. Take meter readings and wait for 30 minutes, making absolutely sure that no one uses water in your home or garden. After that time take another reading. If there has been a change in the reading, this may indicate a leak on your property. Here are some examples of leaks and how to ­fix them:

1. Dripping tap

Dripping taps can be caused by a worn or old washer. If this is the case, it is relatively easy to replace a worn washer with a new one. However, if the problem is more complex it is best to call a plumber.

2. A leak in a pipe join

This happens when water leaks from the area where two pipes are joined together. This can be caused by loose or worn-out couplings. To ­fix this, a coupling and or clamps may need to be tightened or replaced.

3. Pipe leaks

A leaking pipe can be caused by the accidental damage of the pipe, or an old pipe wearing out. A leaking pipe can be fixed by patching the damaged area of the pipe or replacing the section that is damaged.

4. Toilet leaks

To check for a leak in the toilet, pour food colouring into the cistern. If the food colouring shows up in the toilet bowl, then your toilet is leaking. This may be a result of a worn washer or faulty flush valve. This can be ­fixed quite easily, but a more serious problem will require a plumber.

Remember, any leak that occurs after the water meter is your responsible, and it is up to you to fix it. Leaks that occur before the meter are the responsibility of the municipality and need to be reported. Water Wise has developed guides on fixing simple leaks in the home and garden. Visit www.randwater.co.za and click on the Water Wise logo to download these guides.

The Gardener