Water Meters Have Homeowners Checking Their Irrigation Systems

AJ & Gold Canyon residence notice huge water bills and call us to inspect their irrigation system.

Live in the Apache Junction or Gold Canyon and can’t figure out why your water bill has been so high? Before you head out and lift that lid on your water meter, read this.

East Valley customers of Apache Junction Water District (AJWD) have been complaining about unusually high water bills. As a result AJWD began auditing their systems. Residences were saying that their water bills were higher than normal -- in some cases -- double what a normal bill should be.

local gold canyon

We had a customer tell us that he was certain his newly installed sprinkler system was leaking. He called us out to the property twice to inspect his irrigation system. He wasn’t alone.

Homeowners in GC and AJ were out tracing down water-lines all over their properties to check for water damage or the cause of the increase in billing.

Ugh. As if Arizona summers aren’t brutal enough on our pocketbooks. With the added water already needed during this time of year to keep our lawns green – not to mention the extra hundreds of dollars we spend for AC each month.

The Problem

Turns out, many of the water meters we’re in dire need of replacement.  Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) has slowly been replacing the older meters for new digital meters. The new digital meters actually work – unlike the old ones.

The Old Meters

So, how old are these old meters?

Around 1 million of gallons metered; yup, that’s old. This data came from a log on a meter removed from of a residential property in Gold Canyon.

Testing the Old Meter

 As an example of how inaccurate these old meters are, here are the results from one of the older meters.

  • ¼ gallon per min (GPM) flow measured at 0%.
  • when tested at 2 GPM it still measured at 0%...
  • at 15 GMP readings measured about 25% of the water...

This is terrible.

 Consider this, per the test results above:

A standard toilet (before 1999) use a little under 2 gallons for each flush, additionally, showerheads and your sink flow at around 2 GPM; now your sprinklers will hit around 20 GPM (give or take).  

understanding flow rate

None of these, sprinklers, toilet, or shower would register on the tested faulty meter.

The New Meters

Three years ago the AJWD set out on a mission to remove 350 analog meters every year and replace them with digital ones.  The AJWD serves about 10 square miles of homes and commercial locations extending from AJ to Gold Canyon.  

Testing the New Meter

The newly installed meters are very accurate – or as good as you can get. Here are some test results from the new meters:

  • ¼ GPM flow measured at 99%
  • 2 GPM flow measured at 97%
  • 15 GPM flow measured at 97%

These numbers mean there is very little water unaccounted for.

Any homeowner has had their water meter upgraded from analog to digital would likely notice a large increase in gallons of water metered. This is enough to drive any East Valley homeowner think they are losing their mind. So, while the cause of a large water bill can be an indication of a sprinkler system leak; if you live within the AJ water district, it’s likely your new meter.

If you happen to live in Gold Canyon or AJ and think that you may be paying more than your fair share, contact AJWD at 480-892-6030.  They can let you know if, and when your meter was upgraded. Additionally, you can ask for comparison data of water usage history for your property as well as your area.

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