Household Water Tips



The how-tos and what-ifs of your home’s water and wastewater (sewer) utilities. Whether you’re a renter, homeowner, or business owner, these tips could help save you money.

For Water or Wastewater Emergencies, call 512-218-5555, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How To's and What If's


If you suspect you have a water leak, you can view your water meter data online and see to monthly, daily, or hourly water usage.  Please note this IS NOT real time data, there’s a one day delay.  You must register at our customer portal at to view your usage.  (Please note you do need your CID-account number to register.)


  • Once you’ve located your meter box, open the lid to read your water meter. Record the numbers.
  • After 20 minutes, repeat the first step.
  • Subtract the first water meter reading from the second to determine the consumption.

Contact Utility Billing at 512-218-5460 if you have questions regarding your water bill.

Slight discoloration in your water can occur from time to time. Your water is safe. The City’s water quality information is provided in the annual Consumer Confidence Report.

Here’s what the discoloration may mean:

  • Black particles – degraded rubber gaskets, o-rings, or meter washers. Check faucet head and replace o-ring.
  • Brown water – possibly caused by nearby construction, hydrant flushing, or manganese in the water supply. Call 512-218-5555 to request they City to flush the hydrants.
  • Cloudy or Milky water – air bubbles from air in the pipes or a temperature change.
  • Yellow water – manganese or resin from a water softener.

Verify the status of your account with Utility Billing.  If you haven’t paid your bill, your water may be shut off and City staff leave a doorhanger on your front door that says you have an unpaid bill.

If your account is current, your water may be off due to any of the following occurring in or around your neighborhood:

  1. Water main break*
  2. Construction*
  3. Blockage in water softener line
  4. Frozen pipes
*If water is shut off due to unforeseen circumstances, as a precaution, you may receive a boil water notice from the City. See Boil Water Notice to learn more.

You can shut your water off at the meter by turning the homeowner’s cutoff valve located just above your meter box.  It’s a round tube with a metal or green plastic lid. 

In the picture, the water meter has the black lid, the homeowner cutoff “box” is open. 

If you haven’t seen this box before, it may be buried under the grass or dirt.

You can also call 512-218-5555 and a City crewmember will assist at no cost to you.

The average water hardness in Round Rock is 221 mg/L or approximately 12.9 grains per gallon. To learn more, visit Water Quality.

Locate Your Water Meter:

The meter box is usually located near the curb with a black plastic, rectangular lid; between your and a neighbor’s home. There are often two meters inside, yours and your neighbors, yours is the one closest to your property.

Check Consumption:
  • Once you’ve located your meter box, open the lid to read your water meter.  You may need a long screwdriver to help open the lid. Record the numbers.
  • After 20 minutes, repeat the first step.
  • Subtract the first water meter reading from the second to determine the consumption

If you see water coming out of the water meter, or in the meter box, call 512-218-5555 to have the City come check the meter for a leak.

The water pressure can be adjusted by accessing the pressure-regulating valve (PRV).  PRV’s are located close to the water meter (just above it, towards you house), with a round metal or green plastic lid.  It may be covered by dirt and grass.
High Water Pressure:

PRV’s can be set to 75 psi or lower. If you need help locating the PRV, you can contact our office at 512-218-5555 and we will gladly assist. Please note that we are unable to adjust or replace the PRV; however, we will help you locate it.

Low Water Pressure:

The minimum water pressure allowed by the state is 35 psi (pounds per square inch). The City’s goal is to achieve a minimum of 50 psi at every meter.

If you have low water pressure, or it’s noticeably decreased over time, the PRV could be failing.  As they age, they begin to close, thus reducing water pressure.  A licensed plumber can repair or replace the PRV.

Water Leaks

Some water leaks are easy to spot – but there are many hidden leaks that you may not be aware of. You can see if you have a leak now to prevent costly damage to follow. 

The first place to check if you have a leak is at your water meter. (See “Water Meter” above for help finding your meter)


  1. Make sure no water is running inside or outside (washers are off, etc.)
  2. Go outside to your meter box and open the lid.  You may need a long screwdriver to help pop it open.
  3. Watch the meter for several minutes to see if there’s movement.
    • If any numbers change or if an arrow symbol appears in the top middle section (see image), water is flowing through the meter. Often toilets leak slowly, then fill up suddenly, so make sure to watch the meter for several minutes.
    • If you have continuous water flow for over 24 hours, a triangle shape with an exclamation point will appear in the top right corner. 

If you need assistance with checking your meter, please call 512-218-5460. Please note, the City will not repair any leaks located on private property, only on the City side of the meter.  

Where to Check for Leaks

Leaks can be anywhere there is a water pipe or an appliance that uses water.  In the event the leak is on the main water line between the water meter and your house, it may not be seen. 

Our area is full of limestone rock, which is very porous.  Water can easily flow through the ground and rock.  There may not be an obvious pooling of water on the yard.  There may be greener or taller grass in the area.

Flappers are a huge source of leaks inside the house.  Use dye tablets or food coloring to see if the flapper isn’t sealing properly.  Dye tablets are available free of charge at the Utility Billing office or by requesting a free leak kit.

  1. Drop a dye tablet or several drops of food coloring into the tank (back part) of the toilet and wait.  Do not flush.
  2. If after 10 minutes you see coloring in the toilet bowl, you have a leaky flapper.
  3. See video below on how to replace the flapper. Make sure you know the brand of the toilet when purchasing a new flapper.
  4. If the toilet was installed before 2006, it may be better to replace it with a newer model. Not only are newer models more water efficient, the City’s Better Bathroom Rebate makes them easier to buy!

Look to see if there is water in the pan under the hot water heater.  If so, there is a leak in the heater and it will need to be replaced or repaired.

Listen for signs of recharging of the unit.  Typically they only recharge at night, if you constantly hear it, or hear it during daytime hours have a service company come check it.

Constant running water or drips coming from the bathroom or kitchen faucets, the bathtub, or outdoor hose bibs are leaks that need repairing.  Free plumbers tape (teflon tape) is available at the Utility Billing office, or by requesting a leak kit.

Some leaky showerheads can be fixed by making sure they’re screwed in tight and by using plumber’s or Teflon tape to secure it. 

Plumber’s tape is available free at the Utility Billing Office or by requesting a Leak Detection Kit.

  For more complicated valve leaks in showers, contact a licensed plumber.

Run the system on a test program or manually to visually inspect each zone.  Sometimes a line break is easy to spot, as water will be pooling into the yard, street or sidewalk.  Often leaks aren’t visible thanks to the rocky, karst limestone area we live in.  The water flows down through the rock and we don’t see a pool of water on the yard.  You’ll need to look for signs of low water pressure, such as sprinkler heads not popping up. If a leak is found, you may turn the water off to the irrigation system by turning off the backflow prevention device.  See how in the video below.

Leak Detection Kit

Dye tablets, plumber’s tape, and more to help you find the leak. Complete the form below to have the Leak Detection Kit mailed to you free of charge. Available to Round Rock Utility Customers Only

Summer Water Savings Tips

  • Follow the outdoor watering schedule and water longer but less frequently.
  • Don’t cut grass too low; longer grass helps hold moisture by shading the ground and preventing evaporation from the soil.
  • Re-use grass clippings. Leaving grass clippings on the ground can serve as mulch and fertilizer all-in-one.
  • Use native plants.
  • Mulch wherever possible (see Brush Recycling for how to get Free Mulch)
    • Keep mulch at least 2-inches away from trunk to prevent the tree trunk from getting too wet and possibly rotting.
    • Spread mulch to a diameter of at least 3 feet
    • Maximum depth of 3-4 inches
  • Install water-efficient, WaterSense labeled appliances.
  • Use the dishwasher, rather than hand-washing.  It really uses less water!
  • More indoor water use tips can be found here

Winter Water Tips

  • Turn off your automatic irrigation system. If watering is needed, run it manually, then turn it back off.
  • Hand-water plants that need extra attention.
  • Mulch around trees, shrubs, flower beds, and other landscaping and potted plants to retain and regulate temperature.
  • Spread mulch to a diameter of at least 3 feet and a maximum depth of 3-4 inches.
  • Wrap exposed pipes outside and in unheated areas of your home.
  • Insulate faucets with hard foam covers or towels.
  • Drip hot and cold water slowly from inside faucets on outside walls only.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks on outside walls.

Contact Us

Billing Questions512-218-5460 
General Information512-218-5555 
Water Treatment Plant Tours512-218-5555Tour Request Form
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