A little leak can go a long way.

Just one leaky loo can waste around 400 litres of water a day. You could save bucket loads on your usage by checking your property for leaks.

First up, let’s verify if you have a leak

Check for leaks

  1. Find your water meter

    If you live in a house, your meter is outside and usually near the front gate or fence. For units and apartments, your meter is connected to the main water meter and it may be near your front door or in a service cupboard. If you're not sure where your meter is, contact your building management or your owner's corporation.

    Once you’ve found your meter, make a note of the numbers.

  2. Stop using any water

    Turn off all taps and appliances except the stop tap next to the water meter and the toilet.

  3. Wait for 2 hours

    Just make sure no one uses any water during that time.

  4. Check your meter again 

    If the numbers on your water meter have changed or the wheel has moved, you may have a leak. Repeat the test again, just to make sure.

  • Open the cover of your meter and turn on the screen by putting your finger over the three dots.

  • Change to the kL/h or M³/h screen by putting your finger over the three dots for three seconds (this should be the second screen setting). This will tell you how many kilolitres or cubic meters per hour is flowing through your meter.

Not sure what type of meter you have?

Learn more about your meter and how to read it.

Need more help?

Follow our handy how-to-video.

I have a leak; how do I find it?

Leaks aren’t always easy to see. These are the most common culprits.



A leaky toilet can really add up. A trickle can add more than $425 a year to your bill, while a big leak could add $3,000 or more. A good way to check if your toilet is leaking is the paper test:

  • Place a piece of toilet paper at the back of the toilet bowl. 

  • Make sure the back of the toilet pan is dry (best to wait 30 mins after the last flush). 

  • Leave it there for a few minutes (make sure no one uses the toilet during this time). 

  • If the paper is wet or torn, you may have a leak.


Dripping taps might not seem like a big deal, but they can waste up to 20,000 litres of water per year or 55 litres a day—that’s roughly $25 extra each bill.

If you notice a tap dripping, the most likely cause is a worn washer, which you may be able to replace yourself.

Irrigation systems

Unexplained wet patches in your garden can indicate a fault or leak with your irrigation system.

Evaporative coolers

These are generally located on rooftops. It’s normal for a small amount of water to drip from the pipe when in use. But if you see water running down the roof even when the system is turned off, or a wet patch appears on an internal ceiling or wall, you may have a leak.

Hot water units

The most common problem with hot water systems is that the Pressure Temperature Relief Valve (PTRV) can malfunction and release water.

As hot water services are generally located on the side of a house (where people normally don’t walk) these leaks can go undetected for ages. To check for a leak, simply find your hot water unit and see if there is water running out of the pipe.

Faulty automatic top-ups for your water tank or swimming pool

These can malfunction and overflow without you even knowing it. It's a good idea to check these regularly to make sure they're working properly and not wasting precious water.

If you can't locate the leak, you may have a break in your water pipes.

What should I do if I have a water leak?

It depends where the leak’s coming from. Take a look at the visual below to find out who's responsible for leaks.

The property owner is responsible for maintaining and repairing pipes from the water meter to the customer's house (including any issues with your garden tap).

For meters in unit blocks (check meters) South East Water is only responsible for the physical meter and does not maintain the pipes or stop taps on these meters or networks.  

Outside your property

We’re responsible for the meter and the pipes from the street to the meter. If the leak is on our side, let us know as soon as you can and we’ll get it sorted.

Within your property

If you’re the property owner, you’re responsible for the pipes and fittings on your property. You’ll need to contact a licensed plumber to fix the issue for you. Priority Plumbing is South East Water’s trusted plumbing partner, here to help 24/7 across Melbourne.

1300 760 306 

If you’re a renter, contact your agent or rental provider as soon as possible.

How to read your water meter

Knowing how to read your water meter can help you check how much water you’re using and identify leaks.

Check your previous usage

Have a mySouthEastWater account? Sign in or create an account to check your billing history.


Let’s make every drop count and reach our usage target of 150 litres of water per person per day.