If you have a burst pipe in your apartment, then you may have a short wait until your emergency plumber gets to you. In the meantime, it's a good idea to turn off your water. This prevents further damage to your home and any neighbouring apartments that the leak might affect.
However, if you've just moved in or if you have never had to turn your water off at the mains before, then you may not know where to find your water valve. Where should you look?
Look Inside Your Apartment
Apartment water valves are often found inside the dwelling. So, for example, your valve may be under a kitchen or bathroom sink, or it may be in a utility cupboard. Take a quick look around to see if you can find the valve inside. If it isn't anywhere obvious, you need to search a little further afield.
Look in Communal Areas
Some strata buildings put water valves outside their apartments. For example, there may be a utility cupboard on your floor that holds valves for you and your immediate neighbours. Or, the valves may be in the building's services room.
In some cases, you'll find water shut-off valves outside the building itself. They may be set against a wall or in an external cupboard.
Look For Help
If you can't find a water valve in your apartment or anywhere else in the building, then your quickest option is to get help. For example, your strata contract or information pack may say where the valve is — if you can locate these documents quickly, then have a scan through.
If you don't have any luck here or can't find the documents, then call your strata manager. If your building has a caretaker or handyman, then they should also know where the valve is.
If you can't get hold of anyone official, knock on a few neighbouring doors. If you're lucky, someone will be in who already knows where to find these valves. Typically, water main shutoffs are in the same place in apartment buildings. So the chances are you'll be able to locate your valve if one of your neighbours tells you where their valve is.
If none of these solutions works, give your emergency plumber another call. They may have ideas on where the valve might be, and they can give you advice on how to manage the leak to keep damage to a minimum until they reach you.