Detect a Water Leak

How to Check for Leaks

Water leaks can come from many sources such as a dripping faucet, a running toilet, or a broken pipe underground where you can't see it. No matter the cause, leaks waste water and cost customers a lot of money. Fixing easily corrected household water leaks, such as worn toilet flappers and valves, can save residential customers about 10% on their water bills. To report a leak involving District property, please call 760-365-8333. The District operator is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for water emergencies.

District Help

Hi-Desert Water District's (HDWD) Household Water Awareness Program can help you save water! We provide a free water audit that includes checking for leaks. To schedule an appointment, complete the program form or give us a call at 760-365-8333.

Fix a Leak

The District is responsible for the water meter and water service line that extends from the mainline pipe in the street to the property line. The customer is responsible for repairs and maintenance on the water pipes from the water meter to the house. HDWD does not provide leak repair or detection services.

At the Meter

  1. Turn off all water fixtures and appliances indoors and out and wait at least 15 minutes.
  2. At the water meter, check the leak indicator (a small triangular-shaped dial or small silver wheel, depending on the meter). If the dial is moving, chances are you have a leak. You can also read the numbers on the meter register, including tenths of a cubic foot. Write down the current reading, including tenths of a cubic foot or mark your meter with a felt pen over the needle.
  3. Read the meter again after 15 minutes. If the numbers have advanced, you probably have a leak.


Identify toilet leaks by placing a drop of food coloring in the tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, you have a leak. (Flush immediately to avoid staining the tank.) Dye tabs are available free to customers and can be picked up at the District office.

Irrigation System

You may not be able to detect irrigation system leaks on your meter because they have separate shut-off valves. Inspect irrigated areas for unusual wet spots and leaky or broken sprinkler heads.

Water Leaks Add up

  • A faucet leaking at one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water per year, enough to take more than 180 showers.
  • A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year, the equivalent of 60 loads in your dishwasher.
  • An irrigation system with a leak about the thickness of a dime can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month.