We just received our monthly water bill for 167 CCF, which is 16,700 cubic feet or 125,000 gallons (nearly $1000!). This volume is equivalent to a pond 5 foot deep and 33 feet in diameter. We live on a small suburban lot (6000 sqft) in a modest 3BR-2BA single story ranch house with 2 small kids and 2 adults and a small yard (no pool). The house was recently renovated (1 year ago), including new plumbing and fixtures. For the past 3 years we typically use approx 10 CCF/month. the most we've ever used is 20 CCF/month when we got new lawn put in 6 months ago.
I think the 167 CCF/month (or approx 3 gal/min) is nearly impossible but the water meter seems to work and the numbers match what is on the bill. I verified that the meter doesn't spin until I turn on a faucet in the house. I crawled around under the house and it's completely dry. What could this be? Could the meter have skipped forward somehow (seems unlikely). I saw an estimate that a running toilet is ~6000 gallons per month, which would be 21 toilets (we have 2). I don't even think someone could steal that much water without a tanker truck.
Any thoughts on what this could be and/or suggestions on how to dispute it with the water company?
to clarify for some of the comments: I've confirmed that the meter currently seems to be working properly--meaning that it only advances when I open a faucet. I also confirmed that the numbers on the bill match the numbers on the meter so I don't think there is a simple error in reading the meter. We've called the water company and in 3-5 days they will come and check it out, but as far as I can tell everything is OK now. So, despite the ridiculous magnitude and near impossibility of accidentally wasting 125,000 gallons of water, unless I can figure out what went wrong I'm afraid they're just going to charge us $1000.
The water department checked out our meter and we spoke with several helpful people about our situation. Apparently everything is fine now from their point of view. We can have the meter tested by a 3rd party but if it's OK then we have to pay for it. In general they were nice but not too sympathetic since burst pipes and other freak water losses are not uncommon--albeit not with our magnitude and not from an unknown source that magically fixes itself. So, it seems like this will remain an unsolved (and expensive) mystery. Thanks for all of your helpful suggestions and comments.