The water meter can: a) identify if you have a leak; b) tell you how much water you are using; and c) help you monitor the amount of water you use on a daily basis.
Finding and Accessing the Water Meter
Most water meters are located in buried concrete boxes near the street curb. To expose the meter, remove the concrete cover and flip open the meter’s cap and you will see the gauge as shown in the diagram below (beware of the potential for spiders, snakes and bees, which can be present in meter boxes).
Most meter gauges look like this:
If your property has a newer meter, the meter gauge will look like this:
If the leak detector turns when all water is off in the house, you have a leak that should be investigated further. The same concept applies for a leak on your property - if you think the water is off but the detector is spinning or moving, you may have a leak.
Each full rotation of the sweep hand indicates one cubic foot (7.48 gallons of water), has passed through the meter. The markings around the outside of the dial indicate tenths and hundredths of one cubic foot. The sweep hand may also be used to detect leaks.
Just like the mileage odometer on your car, these numbers keep a running total of all water that has passed through the meter since it was new (the diagrams above show 34,458 and 620 cubic feet total). You can determine how many cubic feet of water have been used by using the first digits in white (in the examples above “344” or "6") and subtracting the last read from the current read. To convert to gallons, multiply that number by 748.
What is in a Unit?
Water charges are based on increments of 100 cubic feet of water delivered, or what the industry calls a billing unit. One unit equals 748 gallons of water. Meter readers only read the first numbers in white, which indicate the units used, so in the diagrams above, the readings are 344 and 6.