How to Read Your Water Meter

Meter ReaderWater meters are the primary tool we use to keep track of how much water customers use. Our Water Meter Readers read customer water meters every other month to determine water use and billing. For customers, this can also be a tool to help you monitor your own use and check for water leaks.

Locate Your Water Meter

Locate the water meter on your property, usually located in a concrete box near the street labeled CCWD. Note: Be very careful when removing your meter box lid. Use two large screwdrivers – one to stick in the hole and one to pry up the outer edge. Lift the lid just enough to slide it over to the side with your foot. Replace the lid by sliding it back into place. Be careful not to drop the lid on the meter.

Anatomy of the Water Meter

Most meters look like the one pictured to the right.

  • Dial: The dial will rotate when water passes through the meter. One Water Meter Facefull rotation of the dial equals 1 cubic foot of water or 7.48 gallons.
    • Water meters measure cubic feet of water used. To convert cubic feet to gallons, multiply the number of cubic feet by 7.48.
    • CCWD measures water use by units for billing purposes: 1 unit of water billed = 100 cubic feet = 748 gallons.
  • Low Flow Indicator: The Low Flow Indicator will rotate with very little water movement. Any water moving through the meter is detected so even small leaks will register.
  • Odometer: The odometer records total water use in a similar way as the odometer in your car records miles driven. The water meter odometer records water use in cubic feet and displays as follows: The digits from right to left represent 1 cubic foot, 10 cubic feet, 100 cubic feet and so on. Like a car odometer, the water meter odometer can not be altered.

How to Monitor Your Water Use

The following steps will show you how to determine how much water you use over a period of time.*

  1. Read the odometer and write it down completely. Then write down the date you read it. After a period of days (we suggest 7 days) read the odometer again and write it down and write down the date.
  2. Subtract the first reading from the second reading. This is your water use in cubic feet during the period.
  3. Multiply the water use by 7.48. This is your water use in gallons during the period.
  4. Divide the water use in gallons by the number of days between readings. This is your average gallons per day during the period.

*Use our Water Meter Reading Log (PDF) to calculate your household water use using the steps above.

Check for Leaks

Turn off all water indoors and outdoors including sprinklers, ice maker, etc. If the low flow indicator moves, this may indicate a leak in an appliance or pipe. If the meter shows no obvious movement, note the reading on the meter and return in 4 hours to see if there is any change. Note: if you use water during that time, the meter reading will change. If you do notice movement, check all appliances, faucets, toilets and other water sources for drips or leaks.