How to Read your Water Meter

1. Locate Your Meter

Water meters are typically located near the curb in front of the house or business. Your meter can be found underground in a concrete box marked WATER. Remove the meter box lid carefully using a tool such as a large screwdriver. For your safety, please visually inspect the inside of the meter box before attempting to access the meter (spiders, including Black Widows, are known to nest in meter boxes). Remove the cap covering the face of the meter.

2. Read Your Meter

Reading a water meter is similar to reading an automobile odometer. Most meters have a seven digit number on the face called the readout. This number shows the total number of gallons used since the meter's installation. When water flows through the meter onto your property, all of the numbers revolve except for the last number on the right which is fixed at zero.

The large sweephand registers for this last digit - revolving one time for every ten gallons used.

3. Calculate Your Water Use

To calculate your water consumption, choose a starting point at which to read your meter; record the date and the meter reading. Recheck your meter 24 hours or 48 hours later to determine your usage. Subtract the first reading from the second to calculate the consumption.

For Example: Second reading ----------- 0252060 gallons

First reading --------------- 0253480 gallons

Water consumption ------- 1420 gallons

The City measures and bills water consumption in gallons.

4. Check for Household Leaks

Your water meter can help you determine if your home or irrigation systems are leaking. The small triangle on the face of the meter is the low flow indicator. It will rotate with even very low flow through the meter. To check for leaks, turn off all water uses inside and outside the house. When no water is being used, the low flow indicator should not move at all.

If the low flow meter is moving, there is water flowing somewhere on your property. To further pinpoint the location of the leak, turn off the house shut-off valve (usually located at the front of the house near the hose bib). If the low flow indicator continues moving, water is flowing outside the house (most likely in the irrigation system or the pipes leading from the meter to the house). If the low flow indicator stops moving when you turn off the house shut-off valve, water is flowing inside the house (perhaps due to a toilet leak, dripping faucet or pipe, or other leaking appliance).

Be sure to put the cap back on the meter and replace the meter box lid carefully after you finish reading your meter.


For more information about using your meter to check for leaks, please read Learn to Detect Leaks by Reading your Meter.