How to Read Your Water Meter
The District reads your water meter bi-monthly to determine your water use. But, you don't have to wait for the District, 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 the 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 placeholder 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 10 gallons).
Monitoring Your Water Usage
The following steps will show you how to determine your water usage over a specific period of time.
- 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 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!
Many District meters have been upgraded to our new i-meters. Click here to find out how to monitor your water use with our WaterSmart software.
I think I may have a leak — now what?
Go to our Information about Leaks page to learn more.