Last week at a home inspection in West Vancouver, a leak was encountered in the municipal water supply somewhere between the roadside meter and the shut-off valve in the house. Due to our recent cold snap and the associated freeze-thaw cycle, it's not surprising to find damage to water lines. In the photo, the rectangular cover plate has been removed from the in-ground water meter. The meter compartment was flooded and the sound of flowing water was heard. Obviously there is a break in the line or the water meter itself needs attention.
When all water taps are turned off in the house, it's an easy check to lift the lid of the water meter box and see if it's dry and quiet. In this instance, there was also a caved-in section of ground nearby, due to the scowering or tunneling affect of water flow.
Snowbirds, who are absent for months at a time, should have this simple check performed by those looking after their northern properties. Otherwise, both an extra water fee and property damage may be waiting for them upon their return.