Spring is just around the corner and many of us are excited to get back into the yard to work on the lawn, garden or farm. One thing that isn’t as exciting is the rising costs of water. I love my plants but the gradual increase in my water bill is a pain in the neck. I’m always looking for easy ways to save money on the water bill, whether it’s turning off the water while brushing my teeth or not letting the hose run too long. These are well-known, simple methods to minimize water expenses. However, many folks are less aware of the growing issue of water theft. An unattended yard hydrant or water spigot is an easy target for theft, vandalism and all sorts of unforeseen water costs. Keep reading to learn more about how to avoid this type of disaster.
Water may seem like a ubiquitous resource, however, the potable water that our entire ecosystem depends on to survive accounts for only 1% of Earth’s surface. Recent droughts in the American Southwest and rising costs of water have led to a growing number of water theft incidents, many of which could have been easily avoided with basic prevention methods. These factors have motivated more businesses and landowners to prioritize water conservation and personal water security. Specifically, landowners with large plots of land are making investments in water security to ensure their Woodford spigots aren’t being tampered with or opened outside of operating hours. Here are some easy steps you can take today to ensure you are practicing smart water conservation and theft prevention tactics.
1. Track your water usage
Just as financial advisors will tell their clients to monitor their credit card bills to be aware of irregularities, landowners should do the same with their water bill. While water usage will fluctuate from month to month, be on the lookout for unexplained spikes. These increases are an indicator of water theft and may require landowners to take further steps to secure their water supply.
2. Lock your spigot
There are many ways to physically lock your water source, each of which depends on the type of spigot used at the residence. This is the most important method to consider, since it is the only way to practice preventative measures to secure your water source.
For a typical outdoor faucet, there are various locking mechanisms available that provide an extra layer of security for potential water thieves. These are all inexpensive methods that homeowners can take to reduce the odds of water theft for their residence. Many of these products can be found on Amazon and are intuitive, easy-to-install items. Here are some recommended products:
Conservco Hose Bibb Lock – $11.98
This simple yet effective product attaches to the opening of a standard outdoor household spigot and is secured with a padlock. An additional perk of this item is that it provides a watertight seal, preventing any additional leakage that can also adversely affect your monthly water bill.
NU-SET Hose Bibb Lock – $10.99
This product provides a chrome-plated layer of protection between the spigot and a potential thief by fitting over a standard ¾-inch outdoor spigot. The product includes a rubber washer that also prevents unwarranted leakage even if the facet is turned on.
Rural spigots require specific solutions due to different measurements of the faucet. The most popular outdoor spigot, the Woodford Y34, also known as the Iowa yard hydrant, has less alternatives for protecting these sources, but it can pose a greater financial risk to the landowner. Rural water sources are often the target of large-scale water theft that can result in thousands of dollars in loss. The methods to protect a Woodford spigot are also inexpensive and readily available on Amazon.
Lock and Chain – $10-$20
This is the traditional way of locking a Woodford spigot. The pros? It’s readily available and can be found at any hardware store in the country. However, it doesn’t ensure complete security. Chain cutters are also commonplace at all hardware stores and are an easy solution for someone trying to illegally access a water spigot.
Hydra Secure Locking Collars – $24.99
This product is designed to fit over a Woodford spigot and is closed with a lock. The advantage of this product is that it can withstand chain-cutting tools and is specifically designed for protecting Woodford spigots. It ensures complete resistance to water theft unlike the traditional method.
3. Regularly check your outdoor water faucets
Property owners are advised to keep an eye on their water sources and look for signs of water theft or vandalism. Some reports mention landowners noticing signs of damage to the faucet, hose lines in the area around the faucet and, in some cases, the spigot can be left open and running after theft occurs. Making regular checks on your outdoor water spigot adds an extra layer of protection against potential water theft.
With the inevitable increase in the value of water, water protection will continue to be a relevant topic. Although official statistics on water theft are hard to come by, the incidence of news stories involving water theft to personal property appears to have risen. The recommendations above will help secure your water source, with the most important being preventative practices. Locking your water source can prevent theft before it takes place, while checking a water faucet and monitoring a water bill are more reactionary. A combination of all three of these tactics will best ensure your water spigot remains secure.