What if my water account is higher than usual?

A higher than expected water account could be due to a number of reasons including:

  • Extra people at your place during the reading period (friends or family visiting etc)
  • The installation of new kitchen or laundry water using appliances
  • Water used in establishing new lawns or gardens
  • Water used on lawns and gardens during dry weather periods
  • Water used in refilling a swimming pool
  • Dripping taps or leaking toilet cisterns
  • An incorrect meter reading 

If you cannot explain the increase in your water account you may have a concealed water leak.  

Check for a concealed water leak

Step 1

Make sure no-one is using water inside and all automatic watering systems have been shut off. 

Check your water meter to see if any of the red numbers (or the small wheel) are moving or if you can hear the meter ticking.

The water meter should be stationary and silent if no water is being used at the premise.

Step 2

 Read your water meter last thing at night and first thing in the morning (or during an extended time period where no water is being used).

If there is any change in the readings this can indicate a possible leak.

Step 3

Check externally around the property for any unusual wet or damp patches.

If you believe you have a concealed water leak

You may need to call a licenced plumber to fix the problem. Whether or not to call a plumber is something that you must decide for yourself, as a plumber will usually charge you a fee, even if they do not have to carry out any work. If you rent, you should discuss this with your agent or landlord.

A licenced plumber can carry out repairs to your private water pipes, but not the water meter or the water service in front of your property. 

Bill adjustments for concealed water leaks 

You may be eligible to request City of Coffs Harbour to adjust a higher than normal water account caused by a defective water service under our Water Account Adjustment (Concealed Leaks) Policy.

This Policy clearly sets out the Terms and Conditions which must be met for a property owner to be eligible for an adjustment to a water account.

Some of these Terms and Conditions are:

  • The defect must have been in a plumbed water pipe.
  • The defect must have been such that it was not readily visible or apparent.
  • We must be satisfied that there was immediate and effective action to repair the defect and therefore minimise water loss.
  • Repairs must be carried out by a licensed plumber. 

Any request for an adjustment must be made using the online form below.

Application for Water Account Adjustment (Concealed Leak)(PDF, 625KB) 

 This Application includes a section to be completed by the licensed plumber repairing the leak, where the plumber must declare:

  • Their current licence number
  • The date and nature of the repair
  • Confirmation that the defect was not readily visible or apparent
  • The leak was repaired to Australian Standards

Please Note:  NO ADJUSTMENTS will be considered for defective (leaking) fixtures and appliances such as taps, toilets, automatic-watering systems, water tanks or hot water systems. 

Could I have a faulty water meter?

Faulty water meters are rare because we replace our water meters periodically, in accordance with industry standards.

Faulty water meters generally under-record water usage and so are in favour of the customer.  

If you feel that your water meter is reading inaccurately there are a few simple steps you can follow.

Test water meter yourself

  • Before you start the test, make sure no one is using water to flush toilets or shower and that appliances like the dishwasher, washing machine are not in use. 
  • Write down all the number that appears on the meter. See how to read your water meter
  • Fill a standard sized 240 litre domestic garbage bin using a hose with water from a tap inside your property boundaries.
  • When full immediately turn off the tap and the bin will contain 240 litres of water. 
  • Write down all the numbers that now appears on the meter. 
  • If the meter is working correctly it should have recorded 240 litres of water usage going through the meter.

Request a water meter test

If after the self test above you find your meter is inaccurately recording, you can request a water meter test from City of Coffs Harbour.

  • We charge a fee for water meter testing based on meter size and test type. The fee must be paid prior to any test being carried out.
  • We will only consider a water meter to be inaccurate if it records 3% inaccurate to the volume of water passing through it under pressure.
  • If the meter registers above 3% inaccurate, we will refund you the test fee.