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Each month, Tucson Water's conservation team shares tips on how you can save water. For previous months' tips, click here.

Use Your Water Meter to Prevent Water Waste

27 October, 2021  

Your water meter measures the amount of tapwater used in and around your home. Learning how to read your meter can help you understand your monthly water bill, monitor usage, and determine if there is a leak.

The meter is usually located in the ground, at the front curb, or in the alley and will have a metal or plastic lid marked “Water.” Once located, carefully remove the meter box lid, using a long screwdriver or any handheld tool that you find suitable for the job. Be cautious before putting your hands in the meter box, and make sure it is clear of any hazardous wildlife or insects.

photo of meters
Analog meter (L) and digital meter (R)

Tucson Water charges for water usage in hundreds of cubic feet (Ccf) or per 748 gallons. The meters measure water usage in cubic feet (one cubic foot equals 7.48 gallons). To read your water meter, determine if the meter register has an analog (dial) or digital (LCD) display. To read Ccf usage on an analog dial display, drop the last two digits of the reading (white digits on black). A digital (LCD) display cycles through four distinct screens. Two screens display the meter reading with indicator lines above and below the Ccf digits; all the digits to the right can be dropped. 

To determine if you have a leak on your property, make sure no water is being used at the property. If there is still flow at the meter, you have a continuous leak. On a digital display, the flow indicator is on the right side of the screen, identified by a series of dashes forming a square that rotates. On an analog display, you will see the flow indicator spinning (white triangle or blue star) when water is flowing through the meter. 

home graphic
(1) Water Meter, (2) Tucson Water Main, (3) Waterline owned by customer,
(4) Customer owned, (5) Utility owned

To isolate whether the leak is in the house or in the customer service line, begin by turning off the water supply valve, also known as the house valve. Then return to the meter and inspect for flow. If the meter continues to indicate flow, you may have a leak in the customer service line. If the meter indicates no flow, the leak is likely in the house. Toilets are the biggest source of indoor leaks, so check those first by doing a dye test.  

For more information on how to conduct a leak detection test and use your meter to monitor flow volumes, visit: 

Request a conservation kit to help look for leaks:  

More Conservation Tips

Tips for Tree Maintenance

Water Your Tree Wisely (video)

How to Find a Pool Leak (video)





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