Reasons for a high bill

Investigate the most common reasons your water use may have increased, including seasonal or household changes.

If you receive a higher than normal bill, it is often because:

  • you have moved into the next water use pricing tier, so are getting charged more for the water you have used (see Your bill and charges for an explanation of pricing tiers in your area)
  • the amount of water you have used has increased.

Read a transcript of this video (new window)

Your service charges don't change throughout the year, but you may be charged a slightly different amount from bill to bill, depending on how many days are in that 2-month period.

Your water use charge will change based on how much water you use over the billing period. To see if your water use has increased, take a look at the graph on your bill which shows your current and previous bill's water use. 

Your bill also tells you what your next water use will be priced at.

Has this helped? You might like to keep reading for reasons why your water use may have increased, or you can choose to pay your bill. 


Reasons your water use may have increased

Seasonal changes and sprinkler use are the most common causes of increased water use. Explore these and other reasons here.

Water use in warmer months tends to be a bit higher, so if it looks like your water use has increased, make sure you are comparing it to a similar time of year.

Water use in the warmer months is normally higher because we use more water on our gardens and lawns, run evaporative air conditioning, fill our pools and shower more often.

Rainfall can also affect how much we water our gardens. If we received a lot of rainfall one season compared to the next, you will probably be watering your garden more to make up for it.

Irrigation systems are the biggest water guzzler in the home! 

Reticulation can use up to 130 litres of water per minute so, if you have pop-up sprinklers at 4 stations, and run them twice a week for 10 minutes on each station, that uses around 5,200 litres.

Tip: Shorten your irrigation run times by just 2 minutes per station and see how much you can save!

MP rotators are generally the most efficient types of sprinkler, with pop up/fixed spray sprinklers using the most.

Search for water efficient sprinklers

Irrigation leaks

A broken sprinkler head can waste up to 40 litres per minute, so test your irrigation system for any possible leaks. You can check for leaks yourself following these steps. Make sure you test on your allocated watering day either before 9am or after 6pm.

  • Set each station to 2 minutes.
  • Take a reading of your water meter before running the first station – you can use our monitoring card to take readings.
  • Write down the reading again once the 2 minutes has run through, and calculate how much water was used.
  • Repeat this for all stations. If the reading for each station is around the same an irrigation leak is probably not causing an increase in your water use.
  • If one or more of the stations recorded a significantly higher amount of water passing through, then you probably have a leak somewhere. 

This test will only be accurate if each station has the same type and number of sprinklers.

New lawn or gardens

You may also be using more water through extra reticulation or watering if you have put in a new garden or lawn. 

You can apply for a watering exemption to get your new lawn or garden established – but this only means you are exempt from watering breaches and not for the cost of the water use.

Irrigation controller manuals

Set your irrigation controller to the weather conditions and the time of year. Find your automatic controller manual on the Watershed Water Systems website.

Toilets, dishwashers, washing machines, pipes, hot water systems, garden irrigation (including sprinklers), and taps are all some of the things that may experience a leak or burst and can result in increased water use and ultimately a high water bill.

How to test for leaks around your home

We may offer a leak allowance if you have had undetectable leaks repaired by a licensed plumber. In the event of a leak in your irrigation system, the system must be brought up to standard (including a manual isolation valve and master solenoid). A leak allowance would be considered only after you have had your plumbing/irrigation repairs completed to the required plumbing/industry standards and with all leaks repaired.

You will need to make sure the licensed plumber completes either an online Leak allowance application form or paper based Leak allowance application form which provides us with details regarding the leak and the repairs carried out. For more information, read our Leak Allowance Policy.

Your water use might have increased if you have installed new appliances or fittings such as:

  • a dishwasher
  • washing machines
  • evaporative air-conditioner
  • irrigation
  • shower heads
  • taps.

It's easy to forget that your water use might have gone up because you've had house guests or the number of people in your house has increased.

If you have extra people in your house, this may affect your water use.

Checking your water meter reading

Reading your water meterIf you believe your bill may be incorrect, you can check your water meter to confirm the reading on your bill. 

Read the black numbers from left to right. They should be the same or similar to the reading on your account. 

If the reading is lower than the reading we have taken, please contact us or call us on 13 13 85.

If the reading is correct, we can help you to understand the reasons for the water use and can provide you with tips and information to assist in reducing future water use at your property.

Find out how to read your water meter