How to Read Your Water Meter
We read your water meter bi-monthly to determine your water use. But, you don't have to wait for us, you can easily learn to read your meter to better understand your water consumption.
Locate Your Water Meter Box
In most cases, the water meter box is located at the front of the property, near the street. It is in a large concrete box labeled ‘WATER.’ To view the water meter, open the small metal plate located in the center of the box. If your lid does not have a metal plate, you can remove the entire concrete lid. A tool such as a large screwdriver can help with this.
NOTE: Remember to use extreme caution when opening your water meter box. The lid can be very heavy and you may require assistance in order to lift it. Also, look out for Black Widow Spiders and other insects, which are known to nest in meter boxes.
If you are a residential customer, your water meter might look like the meter pictured below. Some water meters are slightly different than the one pictured. The two key features of all water meters are the Flow Indicator(green arrow) and the Meter Register(red arrow).
The flow indicator will rotate whenever water flows through the water meter, even when water flow is very slight. The speed of the flow indicator corresponds to the speed of flow of water. This can be used to detect if there is a leak on your property.
Meter Registers have rotating numbers that record water use in gallons. Some registers (like the one pictured here), have a place holder indicated by a black zero at the far right of the register- this means it rounds the use to the nearest 10 gallons. Other meters measure to the nearest 1/10th of a gallon, where a decimal point is printed between the two last numbers. Yet another type is a digital register that records in hundredths of a gallon. (We round our bills to the last ten gallons).
Monitoring Your Water Usage
The following steps will show you how to determine your water usage over a specific period of time. Use the worksheet to the right to record your data and calculate your daily water usage.
- Read the meter register and write the number down completely. Record the date as well.
- After a period of time has passed (a week, for example) read and record the meter register number and the date again.
- Subtract your first reading from your second. This is your water usage during that time period.
- Divide this number by the number of days between the readings.
- The resulting number is an approximate of your daily water usage in gallons. Daily water usage should be between 60-75 gallons per person — see how low you can go!
Checking for Leaks
On average, water leaks can cause 10,000 gallons of water to be wasted in an American household per year. You can utilize your water meter to help check if there is a leak occurring at your residence. Make sure no water is being used inside or outside the residence (ice-maker, clothes washer, showers, sprinklers, etc.). Once you are sure that everything is off and not running, locate your water meter box and carefully remove the cover. Find the Flow Indicator on the water meter. This will either look like a black triangle located at the center of the water meter, or a red circle with a black line located at the lower right side of the water meter. If the flow indicator is rotating, even slightly, you may have a leak.
I think I may have a leak — now what?
The first step would be to try and identify where the water leak is occurring. Turning off specific water valves can help to locate the leak. Common leaks are found in faucets, sprinkler systems, and toilets. A leaking toilet is one of the most common leaks found, and can waste 200 gallons of water or more per day. Fixing a leak should be done promptly in order to save water and money. Go to our Information about Leaks page to learn more.