Changing our behaviour – How to get the most from your water bill. Even where there is a clear economic incentive through the tariff to reduce water consumption, if the consumer remains unaware of what is reasonable consumption, it will not result in the necessary behaviour change in being proactive about fixing leaks, reducing excessive garden watering and getting teenagers to take shorter showers. Paying for water and not using it effectively is the same as putting it on the braai and cooking it without any meat.
Here are the basic steps that you as a consumer can follow to get the most from your water bill
Step 1: Basic steps
1. In an average home with no excessive garden watering or big pool to top up, consumption (including teenagers who stand in the shower for hours) should be between 3-4 m3 per person per month (divide total consumption on your bill by the number of people in the house).
2. Open the meter and check that the meter reading corresponds, or almost corresponds, to that on your bill. If it is widely out, then there is probably a billing problem. If they almost correspond then it is a problem after the dial.
3. Check that the meter number (if you can see it) is the same as that on your bill. If it doesn’t correspond, then there is a problem at the municipality.
4. If you have a new meter where the shutoff valve is incorporated in the meter box, turn it off. If the meter still runs then the leak is in the meter box and the municipality must replace the meter and refund above the average consumption.
Step 2: Checking for leaks
1. Go through the house and check that taps are not dripping or toilets overflowing (very common). On old toilets, it is easy to see if the rubber seal is old and hard. With modern mechanisms, lift the ball valve (or equivalent) and if the toilet still fills, the seal needs replacing – this will cost R5 assuming you know how to do it.
2. If not leaking taps or toilets, then it is leaking pipes, or behaviour (that you don’t know about). Do the following checks: Look for any damp patches on the walls, particularly where you know there are pipes going to taps, toilets.
Visit our knowledge hub www.wrc.org.za for more water saving tips and save water.