What a time for a water leak. As local ranchers, wineries and the Zone 7 Water District deal with a record low rainfall in 2013, I single-handedly drained Los Vaqueros Reservoir.

Well, not really, but there's no telling how much water leaked out of an underground PVC pipe fitting before the leak manifested itself by pooling in my garage and master bathroom. My January bill from the city's Municipal Water Department might drain my wallet.

Before I went to work the other day I noticed two puddles of water in our garage. I figured our washing machine had leaked again, something I had already fixed about a year ago.

No big deal, I thought. Boy was I wrong. I came home from work late at night and noticed more water in the garage. This disturbed me. Then I went inside and into the bathroom and stepped into a puddle of water. Panic set in. We had just installed new hardwood flooring. The leak wasn't coming from the bathroom, but seeping from the wall. Luckily, the hardwood was not in the bathroom, which still had old linoleum flooring. A quick scan of the house showed no other water. The baffling thing was that the garage and our master bathroom are on separate sides of the house. I ran outside and turned off the water main line and began mopping up the water in the bathroom and garage. With the water turned off, no new water seemed to be flowing in, but this didn't calm my mind at all.


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Water damage to a house comes with a hefty price tag, not to mention the bill from the plumber to fix this baffling problem.

I waited up a couple hours and noticed no new water so went to sleep. The next day, my dad and I played detective. What could cause a leak on both sides of the house at once? We inspected water lines in the house and nothing seemed to be leaking.

Then we noticed the ground was wet outside near the sprinkler valves. Every year I have to fix sprinkler pipes and fittings that spring a leak but usually it is nothing urgent because it only leaks when the sprinklers are on. But the ground seemed very wet around these sprinkler valves. We dug it up and the hole filled with water, even with the main line to the house shut off. It turns out this leak was on the charged end of the line and was leaking constantly for who knows how long.

Ironically, it is the dry winter that made me turn back on my sprinklers after weeks of leaving them off hoping for rain. The hole must have become worse with the sprinklers back on, and the ground became so saturated from the leak that it started seeping into our garage, and even across the house in the bathroom.

When my house started springing leaks, the ants that live under our slab foundation were driven out by the water and invaded our house. On top of all this my wife had a bad flu.

They say when it rains it pours, but with the 2013 in the record books for least rain ever recorded in the Valley, I think I need a drier axiom.

Guess I'll have to take quick showers and let my grass wither and die to make up for all the water I wasted for neglecting my sprinklers.