01-2016 Water-Wise Storm Preparedness

Posted on January 6th, 2016

Winter has arrived. Are you prepared? Many outdoor water leaks can go undetected during wet, freezing, or stormy weather because the already wet conditions mask the signs of leakage. There are, however, several steps you can follow to make sure that you are ready for whatever winter throws at you.

The first and most important step toward being prepared, in terms of water, is to find out where your water meter is located. Please keep the area around your water meter clear of debris and maintained so that it is accessible. You will need to be able to access it to check for leaks (instructions in the next step) and our field crew may need to access it if there is a water emergency in your area.

Knowing where your water meter is will also enable you to monitor for leaks, even during inclement weather. The water meter leak detector is the chrome and black wheel located at the center of your water meter register. In order to check for leaks, you will need to stop all water usage inside of your home or business (water usage during the inspection will give you a false leak report). If the water meter leak detector is still moving after all indoor use has stopped, you have a leak, and you should call the District at 831-475-8500 to have a customer service representative meet you at your property to confirm. A serious leak will require immediate repairs, and a representative can provide information on the next steps.

Freezing temperatures can also be hazardous to your water infrastructure. To protect your house from damage associated with freezing, cover any exposed water piping with pipe insulation. This will prevent the water in an exposed pipe from freezing and expanding, which can cause the pipe to crack or burst and lead to wasteful and costly water leaks.

Backflow protection equipment can also be negatively affected by freezing and expanding water but can be avoided by using backflow covers. Backflow covers are available at your local commercial plumbing supply business or you can request one from a backflow specialist.

It is also very important to know the location of your shutoff valve, which is usually located on the side of your home or business. Shutoff valves can be used to immediately turn off the water supply to your home or business so that leaks can be stopped and repairs can be made before damage occurs.

The timers for the irrigation systems at your home or business need to be turned off during winter storms as well. Watering during rainy weather, in addition to being wasteful, can result in Water Waste Violation from the District. It is also important to note that, during area power outages, most irrigation timers reset to factory default times. Following power outages, check to make sure that your timer is set properly to avoid having your irrigation come on more frequently than needed. A winter power outage can also result in over-watering when timers are turned back on in the summer. Getting familiar with your irrigation timer, times, and functions is an easy way to save water and avoid water waste.

Being prepared for winter weather will help us keep your water supply safe and secure. Thank you!