Water Speak 101

AMWUA: (pronounced "am-wa" as in, "I am" and "water") Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, a non-profit association of ten municipalities in the Phoenix metro area, advocating responsible water stewardship that supports economic prosperity and safeguards Arizona's water supplies for future generations

Aerator: A device screwed onto the end of a faucet spout that mixes air into flowing water to reduce water flow

Autofill (Automatic Pool Water Leveler): This device automatically allows water to flow into a pool to maintain a desired pool water level

Backflow Prevention Device: A device that prevents contaminants from entering the drinking water supply

Berm: A raised barrier such as mounded dirt used to contain irrigation water

Continuous Leak: An ongoing leak that occurs whether or not a water-using device is in operation

Emitter: A device on the end of drip irrigation tubing that regulates flow

Flood Irrigation: A flow of water that fills a basin surrounded by berms for landscape irrigation

Home vs. House: "Home" refers to the premises (both the property and the house); "house" refers to the structure itself

Hose Bibb: Exterior hose connection or spigot

Hot Spot: A hot or warm surface area caused by a leaking subsurface hot water supply line

House (Main) Water Shut-off Valve: This valve stops the flow of water from the service line to the house

Intermittent Leak: A non-continuous leak that starts and stops, this type of leak often coincides with the operation of a water-using device

Irrigation Controller/Timer: Controls the frequency and duration of irrigation watering cycles by automatically activating the control valves

Irrigation Station (Valve, Zone): Stations (programmed in the irrigation controller) switch on the valves that release the water to the irrigation zones in your yard or garden. The terms: station, valve and zone are often used interchangeably even though they have different meanings.

Irrigation System: Often consists of a backflow prevention device, underground pipes, valves and emitters, bubblers and/or sprinkler heads and an irrigation controller

Low-flow Indicator/Leak Detector: Typically looks like a small triangle, star or gear on the face of the water meter and rotates when water flows through the water meter

Overflow Tube: A tube in the toilet tank that allows water to flow into the toilet bowl

Riser: A vertical extension pipe

Service Line: An underground pipe that carries water from the water meter to your home

Shut-off Valves: There are two main types of shut-off valves found in the home: (See Isolation Method.)

A gate valve opens by turning the handle left (counter clockwise) to start water flow and closes by turning it right (clockwise) to stop water flow.

A ball valve opens by turning the handle parallel to the water line to start water flow and closes by turning it perpendicular to the water line to stop water flow.

Toilet Flapper: A device in a toilet tank that controls the release of water from the toilet tank to the toilet bowl

Water-using Device: A device such as an appliance (dishwasher, clothes washer, etc.), evaporative cooler, water feature, koi pond or automatic pet watering trough that utilizes water


This guide focuses on finding common leaks in and around your home. You may experience one or more leaks at different times. Use this guide as a reminder to check your home regularly - this will help you stay on top of leaks and save water and money. Ongoing responsible water management is critical to our communities.

AMWUA member water conservation experts have searched the Internet for additional resources on leak detection and helpful how-to videos for do-it-yourself repairs. We recommend the following:

How to Read Your Water Meter

Read Your Analog Water Meter Video

Read Your Digital Water Meter Video

Outdoor Visual Leak Inspection

Check for Water Service Line Leak Video

Check for Outdoor Water Leaks Video

Check for Pool Leak Video

Check for Pool & Water Feature Leak Video

Indoor Visual Leak Inspection

Check for Indoor Water Leaks Video

Check for Toilet Leak Video

Isolation Method for Continuous Leaks

Check for Leaks Using the Isolation Method Video

DIY Water Leak Repair Videos


Install a High-Efficiency Showerhead Video

Repair a Leaky Indoor Faucet Video

Replace a Toilet Flapper Video


Sprinkler Heads/Bubblers

Save Water with Efficient Sprinkler Heads Video

Adjust a Variable Arc Nozzle Video

Adjust a Rotary Nozzle Video

Fix a Leaky Sprinkler Head Video

Replace a Broken Sprinkler Head Video

Replace a Broken Bubbler Video

Repair a Broken Riser Video

Convert Sprinklers to Drip Irrigation Video

PVC Pipe/Tubing

Repair a Broken PVC Pipe Video

Repair Holes in Drip Irrigation Tubing Video

Irrigation Valves

Replace an Irrigation Valve Diaphragm Video

Replace an Irrigation Valve Solenoid Video


Fix a Leaky Outdoor Faucet Video

Professional Assistance

AMWUA Member Conservation Offices

Landscape Professionals

Green Plumbers USA

For Landscaping Guides, Rebates, Classes, and More Information on how you can save water and money, visit the conservation section of www.amwua.org.

The Smart Home Water Guide is available as a print publication in English or Spanish. Contact your AMWUA Member Conservation Office to request a copy.

This guide is part of an expansive toolbox of information, guides, training, outreach, and messaging developed through AMWUA's Regional Conservation Program to assist residents and businesses to conserve and use our water supplies as efficiently as possible. These efforts are developed collaboratively by the water conservation professionals of the ten AMWUA member cities and AMWUA staff, working together with the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Salt River Project, Central Arizona Project, Bureau of Reclamation, EPA WaterSense, the University of Arizona, trade associations and others. By pooling our time, expertise, and experience, we have been able to cost-effectively create practical, useful resources that are shared with customers across the Phoenix metro area and beyond.

Since 1969, AMWUA has worked to protect our members' ability to provide assured, safe, and sustainable water supplies to their communities.

Visit www.amwua.org for more resources and information about conservation, water resources, and how our members are planning and managing our supplies for today and generations to come.

Together, we are One for Water.™