I have a question regarding the water system in my house. I live in a small city outside of Sacramento, California. For the past two years, Iíve been dealing with a city organization involved with water conservation. Now, Iím a big proponent for conserving our natural resources, but I donít believe Iím getting the correct story from these folks and wanted to get some other opinions before I go and spend a lot of money for someone to tell me what I think is true.

For the past couple of years around spring time, Iíve been getting a notice from the Water Conservation Department regarding excess water on my sidewalk, which is true. I live at the bottom of a sloped street and have other issues that indicate that my property is sensitive to how my neighbors water their yards. But that is a separate issue and not the question that I want to ask you now. But, it is the reason that I became involved with the Water Conservation Department.

After the first notice a couple of years ago, the Water Conservation Department wanted to find out the source of this excess water and I agreed. And, because I had not yet turned on my landscape watering system since turning it off during the winter, they wanted to check my water system in my house to make sure there were no leaks.

So, they connected a pressure gauge to my hose bib and turned on the water. The pressure came up to around 70 psi. Then they turned off the gate valve that connects my home to the city water system. Then, we watched as the pressure on the pressure gauge dropped to 60 to 65 psi. They said that this is a true indication that I have a water leak somewhere in my home. This was a concern to me so I starting checking around with local plumbing supply stores as well as the Internet.

What I took away from the information that I got was that the true best way to check for water leaks (not where the leaks might be located if the system does have a leak) was to (1) make sure all of my hose bibs and indoor faucets are shut off and (2) make sure any other appliances that use water like ice makers or washing machines are shutoff. Then go to the source of the city water and find the water meter that measures the water that comes in my home. I made a note of the values on the meter (both the odometer like numbers that measure full gallons and the dial that measure fractions of a gallon) along with the location of the small triangle that turns around when the least bit of water flows through the meter.

I left the house for 8 hours and when I came back, absolutely nothing had changed on the water meter values and position of the little triangle. I did this test on 3 different days to make sure I would get consistent results and got the same results every time.

So this year rather than waiting for the Water Conservation Department to contact me, I contacted them to see if I could finally put this issue to rest. But, they said that their way of determining if a home water system leaks is the proper way. And, that the leak in my home was small enough to allow water to get past the water meter and not be measured. But also, the leak was large enough to cause a large amount of water to cover my sidewalk. This, of course, did not make any sense to me at all.

By the way, I did contact the Water Department just recently and had them come out and check that the water meter was functioning properly. They did and found no problems with the water meter.

So here is my question. Am I correct in my way in to determine if I have a water leak? If so, do you agree that I donít have a water leak? Thanks very much in advance for your help.