"Have you sorted out your water problems Dame M?" I asked. Even if she was 41 and not 81, there still would have been laughter around the table. Aren't I so clever?
Two water bills ago her account went from a couple of hundred dollars to four hundred dollars and then the last bill was seven hundred dollars. I queried at the time that the apartments above her were separately metered and they are.
She replaced both of leaking toilet cisterns but the plumber said that the leaking cisterns could not possibly be responsible for such an increase.
Her boarder is of the more theatrical type and not very practical. It took some help from one of her tenants to find the cause. They took a meter reading one night and they sat having drinks and a few hours later took another reading. They had not used water but the meter showed quite a bit of water consumption. A leak underground was the guess.
It was simply the garden hose being left on at the tap although the trigger was off. When she had finsished watering at the time everyone else was watering, so far as she could see, the water was off. But as people stopped watering and it became late in the night, the water pressure built up and the trigger started releasing water. By the time she might be outside again, perhaps mid morning, the pressure had fallen again and the trigger had stopped leaking. She and the tenant took a tour of the garden and there were all these damp patches where the hose trigger had lain.
As I said to her, well, while everyone's houses around you crack because of the drought and the dry soil shrinking, yours has not. Your foundations are well watered (more sniggering).
I always used to turn our hose off at the tap and while we don't have a tap and hose now, I always make sure vacant power points are turned off. Don't want the electric leaking out do we.