Leak Detection & Water Saving 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 RRTXwater.com to view your usage.  (Please note you do need your CID-account number to register.) 


  • Open the meter box’s lid to read your water meter. Record the numbers along the bottom of the meter face. (This is like a car’s odometer.)
  • 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 the 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.

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.  If you live on a corner lot, the meter box may be around the corner, closer to the home behind yours, but still along the street.

In this picture, the the meter box’s lid is open to show the two meters inside.

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.

Verify the status of your account with Utility Billing.  If you haven’t paid your bill, your water may be shut off. City staff would have left 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
  5. Private water leak and the meter was turned off to prevent damage and water waste
*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 or you may not have one.  A plumber can be contacted to install a homeowner cutoff valve for you.

You can also call 512-218-5555 and a City crewmember may be able to assist locating  the cutoff valve 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.

The property’s water pressure can be adjusted by accessing the pressure-regulating valve (PRV), if there is one.  PRV’s are located close to the water meter (just above it, towards your house), with a round metal or green plastic lid.  It may be covered by dirt and grass.
If you need help locating the PRV, you can contact our office at 512-218-5555 and we will assist. Please note that we are unable to adjust or replace the PRV; however, we will help you locate it.
High Water Pressure:

To reduce water pressure, PRV’s should be set to 75 psi (pounds per square inch) or lower.  Irrigation systems do not run effectively with high water pressure, a lot of water is lost due to misting.  Ideal water pressure for irrigation is between 35 – 50 psi.

Low Water Pressure:

The minimum water pressure allowed by the state is 35 psi. 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 – like water dripping from the water heater, or a toilet constantly running; but there are many hidden leaks that you may not be aware of.

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.

The first place to check if you have a leak is at your water meter. (See “Locate the 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. 

Where to Check for Leaks

The video below walks you through a typical house to identify places a water leak could be happening and how to fix it.

Flappers not sealing are the number one 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 Toilet Leak Detection kit.

The video below shows how to check a toilet for leaks.

  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. Make sure you know the brand and model number of the toilet when purchasing a new flapper. (This can be found inside the toilet tank.)
  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!

By state plumbing code, there should be a pan under the hot water heater, this is to try and protect the house from water damage from a leaking hot water heater. 

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

Turn the water off to the hot water heater to prevent continuous water flow.  The knob could look like a hose spigot, or a butterfly valve and would be located on one of the pipes

 leading into the water heater.  In the picture, see the knob circled in red.

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 is available at the Utility Billing office, or by requesting a leak kit.

To stop the dripping until it can be fixed, turn off the knobs under the sink.  It could be in a cabinet under the sink, or if a pedestal sink, like the one pictured, the knobs are visible on the wall.  There is one knob for hot and one for cold water.


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

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

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

Run each zone of the system manually to visually inspect each area.  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 can turn the water off to the irrigation system by turning off the backflow prevention device or the master valve.  See how to, in the video below.

Toilet Leak Detection & Drip Measurement Kit

Dye tablets, plumber’s tape, and more to help you determine if your toilet is leaking and measure how much water is going down the drain with that dripping faucet!  Complete the form below to have the Toilet Leak Detection Kit mailed to you free of charge. Available to Round Rock Utility Customers Only

For more robust leak finding and fixing, check out our DIY Water Saving Kit from the Round Rock Public Library! 

Contact Us

Billing Questions512-218-5460 
General Information512-218-5555 
Rebate Programs512-671-2872jwoods@roundrocktexas.gov
Water Treatment Plant Tours512-218-5555Tour Request Form
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