High Water Meter Bill – What You Should Do

*Update: Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see the details of the new May 2019 Bylaw changes*

You may have received a surprisingly high water meter bill, or even a letter from your municipality advising you that you have a leak.  If you find yourself in a similar situation and suspect you have a leak, here is what you should do.

First:  log-on to the West Vancouver, or local municipality website and check your monthly consumption.  This will allow you to compare with past bills and see how much above normal it really is.  If you suspect you have a problem, this will be a good place to confirm it.

Got a usage problem?  Here are the next steps.  While these steps can be DIY if you are comfortable with that, or you may call in your favorite local plumber R&B at any point for help.

  1. Locate your meter. Your meter is a flat brown box located at the property line.  It is sometimes covered in shrubs or trees if it’s an older installation, and if you can’t find it, a call to the city will tell us exactly where it is.
  2. Take the lid of the box and look if the meter is spinning, or number moving. If it is spinning, that indicates that water is being actively used on your property.
  3. Next go into your house and find your main water shut off. This will shut off the water to your entire home.   Check your meter again.
  4. Stopped spinning? That means you have uncontrolled water use inside your house.
  5. Still spinning? That means you have a loss of water outside of your house and you should continue to isolate systems such as sprinkler system, pool auto fill valve, etc.  If at any point the meter stops spinning, you have found your source.
  6. Still Spinning? If, after turning off all valves, you are still showing water usage, this points to the main water line as the culprit.

When to call a plumber:

At any point along steps 1-6 if you feel at all uncomfortable or unsure of the process, please call R&B.  Once we know where to look, we can continue to isolate the exact location and affect a repair.

R&B does main water line replacements, water leak repair, drainage, and hot water heating repairs.  We also have cameras and remote equipment to help identify the exact source of leaks buried behind walls, underground and that may be draining away from the house.

The silver lining if you live in West Vancouver is, the Municipality has a process that allows you to claim back for a portion of your water bill from the past six months if your repair shows a drop in consumption.

See our next blog on the usual culprits of high water use for a list of things you can look for before you call R&B.

May 10, 2019 Update:

As of May 10 this year, the District of West Vancouver has changed the Leak Adjustment Bylaw to only allow particular leaks to qualify for an adjustment. You can find the new bylaws here. That said, we know most people don’t have the time to sift through a 20 page document , so here’s the long and the short of it:

Waterworks Regulation Bylaw 4490, 2006
No rebate, refund or credit whatever of any money paid or payable for water shall be made except as follows. A rebate for the metered water utility fee to compensate for the water leak will be made at the discretion of the Treasurer when a firm that has repaired the water leak will provide an attestation to the District confirming the following conditions: a) There was a water leak on the buried portion of the service between the water meter and the point where the service pipe enters the building on the buried water service;
b) They have properly repaired the leak; and
c) A leak of that nature would have caused the volume of excess water usage
d) An application for adjustment has been received, in writing, within 30 days of the mailing of the most recent utility statement.

If conditions are met, the Treasurer will recalculate the metered water utility fee for the most recent quarterly period by estimating the normal volume based on usage history and trends over the previous two years. The recalculated metered water volume utility fee will be the sum of the following:

a) Normal volume multiplied by the unit rate in Schedule “B”.
b) Excess volume multiplied by 25% of the unit rate of Schedule “B”.
c) Water leaks administration fee in accordance with Schedule “C”.

If you have more questions and want clarification on what this means for you, give us a call at 604-980-1369, or to find out whether or not you qualify, contact the West Vancouver Municipal Hall. You can find their contact information here.

— Blog 1 of 2