Information about Water Use and Leaks

*Contact a licensed professional to learn how to winterize your home safely.

Truckee Donner PUD has a web tool to access your meter and see your water usage. More

There are many ways to save water at your home. Understanding where you use water is the first step. More

Truckee Donner PUD will repair the infrastructure from the water source up to and including the meter near the street. The customer is responsible to repair the system after the meter.

LEAK FIGURE 1 thumb If your meter is a rectangle, click here. 


LEAK FIGURE 2 thumb If your meter is a circle, click here.



Find and open your meter box near the street. Be careful handling the wiring. The display screen is solar powered. You may need a flashlight with good batteries to shine directly on the solar collector on the meter (Fig.2). There are two alternating screens. The READINGS screen (Fig.1) will display a faucet if you have a leak. Next, the RATE screen (Fig. 2) will show the flow rate in gallons/minute. 

 Meter Figure 1Meter Figure 2

Turn off all water in the house. Now shut off the “stop & drain” at the house. Make sure it’s completely off. Check the meter again. If the RATE display (Fig. 2) went to 0.00 then the leak is inside the house. If the RATE display is still showing usage, then the leak is outdoors between the meter and the house.

To locate a leak in the house, turn the “stop & drain” valve back on. Check toilets, tubs, sinks. These are the most common sources of indoor leaks. Make repairs and repeat these steps until the RATE display goes to 0.00. After all leaks are repaired, the faucet symbol will remain for 24 hours before it resets and disappears. 


Water leaks normally occur in one of three areas; house fixtures, irrigation systems, and the customer-owned service lateral (underground pipe between the house and the meter.) Keep in mind that more than one leak may exist. House fixtures

Sinks, showers, tubs, toilets, water heaters, outside hose bibs attached to the building: Leaks on internal plumbing are normally identifiable by visually examining the fixtures in your house. You may be able to hear a leak by placing your ear on an exposed fixture or piece of pipe. Also check ice makers, dishwashers, washing machines. A warped or poorly fitting toilet flapper can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day. A toilet that is constantly running can waste up to 300 gallons of water an hour. Toilet leak detection tablets are available at the Truckee Donner PUD office.

Plumbing system drain valve (stop & drain or stop & waste): Most houses in the Truckee area are equipped with a valve that turns off the fresh water supply and drains the internal plumbing. These valves are typically located within the crawlspace or basement and often have a handle attached to a riser hidden in a closet or cabinet. First, with your water service turned on to the house, make sure your house is quiet with no water running anywhere in the house, and listen to your stop & drain valve. Put your ear right down on the handle. If you hear any sound from the valve, turn it off and listen again. If the sound has stopped, then the problem is somewhere past the valve inside the house. Note: It is not always possible to hear a leak, especially a small one. If the sound has not stopped, then turn the valve back on again, ensuring that it’s fully open. (If the valve is only partially open, water will leak out the drain hole.) Once the valve is fully open, does the noise stop? If it does, the problem may have simply been the valve position. However, if the noise continues, then you have a leak between the valve and the meter box at the street. Stop Drain Thumb Click here to read more about stop & drain valves.

Click here to see an image of a stop and drain valve.

Permanently installed underground irrigation systems

Many leaks on irrigation systems involve broken sprinkler heads and can be found by visual examination. Leaks on buried irrigation system piping are not always easy to pinpoint. However, it is usually possible to determine whether the leak is on the irrigation system or not.

Permanent irrigation systems should have a master valve where the irrigation system connects to the underground pipe from the water meter. Check to make sure that all control valves, sprinkler heads and drip lines are turned off and not leaking. Then turn off the main irrigation valve for a few minutes. Turn the valve back on again, if you hear moving water, there is likely a leak in the irrigation system.

Customer-owned service lateral

If you find no leak on the internal plumbing or the irrigation system, then it may be located on the buried pipe that runs from the meter box to the structure. Most licensed plumbing contractors have specialized listening devices that can help locate leaks on underground pipes