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Summer 2022

Add a Flowmeter to Monitor your Water Usage

By now, most of our readers have heard, as Lori Palmquist notes in the article above, that EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District) has mandated a 10% water reduction, and Contra Costa Water District has requested a 15% reduction in water use, both compared to 2020 levels.

Most of us are willing to do our part in meeting this goal for our communities. However, if we are already conserving, we may ask ourselves, “What are the most effective additional steps I can take at my household to reduce my water use?”

Our water bills arrive every two months, so they don’t help us monitor usage in time to hit our reduction targets. And, although it is possible to check our water meters on a regular basis, it's inconvenient to do so.

To address this problem, both water districts are offering rebates on water-monitoring devices:

EBMUD: Flowmeter rebate 

Contra Costa Water District: Flume Smart Home Water Monitor Rebate

These devices attach easily to a home water meter and include a phone app that tracks your water usage on a daily, hourly or even minute-to-minute basis. Rebates can cover 50% or more of the device’s cost.

How do the monitor and app help you in a practical way? It can:

  • Alert you about a possible leak because water has been running continuously for over two hours
  • Identify a sprinkler system that seems to be using more water than it was previously or when compared to other systems
  • Assist you in finding an underground leak in a sprinkler system. (“All the drips or spray heads are capped off, and there is still water running!”)
  • Make you aware of how much water a shower, load of washing or dishwasher really uses.

Knowledge is power, and having this information at our fingertips can help us hit our 10% or 15% reduction target and, at the same time, use our valuable water where we’ll get the most benefit from it.

Article by Cynthia Engers, UC Master Gardener of Contra Costa County
Photo credit: David Ballew - Unsplash