Who Controls Incoming Water Pressure?

By an edhat reader

A few days ago, I was trying to repair my drip system in the back yard. A hose component had been completely blown off. As it turns out, the incoming water pressure to my condo was 140 psi !! This is the “before the water meter” reading. After the water meter de-pressurized the water flow, it was 100 psi !!

Luckily my plumber is a very patient man who lives very nearby and was kind enough to walk over and adjust my meter down to about 60-70 psi. In asking a lot of questions about this, I was told that GWD sets the incoming pressure and, for whatever reason, ignores requests to bring it down to a reasonable level.

This, I do not understand. Such extremely high incoming water pressure wastes a resource that is already scarce, not to mention the damage it causes to pipes, appliances, etc., as well as water leaks beneath the slab. Does anyone know the answer to this irresponsible folly ?


Written by Anonymous

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  1. PS, as Mini wrote, when my regulator failed (at 15 years old) the first “symptom’ was running toilet, which resulted in the +$250 water bill. Fill valve clogged with debris. The next “symptom” was exploding garden hose and veggie garden emitters flying through the air. There were no other issues because I replaced the darn thing right-a-way. The problem does not go away by itself. The part is not that expensive, can be DIY but support your local plumber to do a quick and easy fix.

    • How many units do you use? Let’s say your average at 50gal a day * 4 people = 200gal per day * 30 days = 6000 gal / 748 = 8 units. Tier 1 rates up to 4 units is $5.10, = $20.40 Tier 2 rates for the next 4 units = $15.19 $60.76. Total = $81 for water. + tax of around $9 for a total water cost of $90
      Meter fee, sewer rate (based on discharge units) and trash are also on the City’s bill. Your rates for those will vary depending on size of meter, quantity of discharge and number of and size of your trash cans.
      As an example. We were gone for a couple of months this winter. During that time we had 0 water use, 0 sewer discharge. Our bill was $125. The is the baseline for trash and the meter fee and sewer service.
      Get a Flume, it will really help you monitor your usage and let you know if there are any leaks. The city offers some sort of refund which cuts the price down. It’s a great device.

  2. OP. I have been thinking (ouch) about this. Plumbers are not always well versed in irrigation needs and techniques. And most irrigation contractors are not good plumbers. There are exceptions. I have 40 years of experience with irrigation systems. All but retired now. I will be in the Goleta area this coming week, and would be happy to give you any tips and a diagnosis of your system, free of charge. I do not know if Edhat can hook us up, but if you call Greg at Aqua Flo in Goleta, he can probably figure out who I am. If not, he can send you to a good Irrigation man. Buena Suerta.

  3. Pressure from the water meter can be up to 265 psi in some parts of the Riviera. The West side runs about 165. You should have a regulator where the water enters your house, and another at your anti-backflow device if you have over 90 psi. ( If you use plastic Irrigation components.) These regulators belong to you, not the water districts.

  4. As posted above, it is your responsibility to regulate the water pressure for your internal home plumbing and lower for irrigation and even lower for drip irrigation. PS: Pressure regulators do not last forever! You need to periodically (annually) check the pressure. Or you can wait until a pipe fitting fails in your home or your emitters fly off the drip hose.

  5. And . . . If you notice your water pressure suddenly increases while using your kitchen or bathroom sink or tub faucets —– get your water pressure regulator checked ASAP. Those parts can last up to 10-15 years, but sometimes burn out at age 3. If you’re constantly having problems with your toilet running, flushing on its own, then high water pressure may be playing hell with your fill valve. In Santa Barbara, you don’t want to learn the hard way what a faulty water pressure regulator can do to your water bill.

  6. GWD did some “work” on our HOA-wide system about 2 weeks ago. Before that, my pressure reading was about 60-70 psi. It was AFTER the work, and worth no warning, that my drip system hoses started to blow off. Contrary to some of the statements, I was pretty diligent about water pressure before the “work” took place.
    The HOA property is not a strawberry field and really doesn’t have unusual irrigation needs. At least there is NOTHING that warrants a psi of 140 coming into the units. It had been about 100 psi in the past. And, of course, while most comments seem to excuse this, I do not. 140 psi is unnecessarily wasteful and expensive. Unless the large family described in one comment might have some unusual requirement, $250 per month is too much.
    I don’t think I am alone. This is one of those questions that seems to be politically incorrect, and therefore needs an answer.

  7. Folks – please let me leave you with one consideration which has not been mentioned at all.
    We all need to be concerned with inordinately high pressure for all the reasons previously stated, but also because undetected water leaks can occur beneath the visible surface your property, the street, the highway, etc. Your neighbor’s irresponsibility may result in a sinkhole being formed beneath both of your homes. High water pressures, of which many speak in such a cavalier manner, will contribute to the possibility of such events happening. Issues like this are addressed on government websites such as the USGS.
    How this is handled collectively could be the most important point of all.

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