Your water meter (usually located in the ground, at the front curb, or in the alley) measures the amount of water used in your household. Tucson Water takes the current reading and subtracts from it the previous reading to calculate your billing cycle water usage. Learning how to read your meter can help you verify the monthly reading on your water bill or determine if there is a leak on your property.
Understanding your mechanical water meter
The mechanical water meters measure water use in cubic feet (one cubic foot equals 7.48 gallons). Tucson Water calculates water usage based on hundreds of cubic feet (Ccf) or per 748 gallons. To read your water meter, first look to see if the meter register has an analog (dial) or digital display.
How to read the analog display
Analog displays use straight-reading dials which are read the same way you read your vehicle odometer. The last two digits on the meter dial are dropped when the meter is read. In the example at upper right, the meter reads 9 CCFs.
How to read the digital display (LCD)
Digital displays also use straight-reading dials which are read the same way you read your vehicle odometer. The digital display cycles through four distinct screens. Two screens display the meter reading within indicator lines above and below the digits. The remaining digits are dropped when the meter is read. In the example at lower right, the meter reads 62 CCFs. Another display screen shows the rate of water flow in gallons per minute. The final display screen shows the water meter model and size which varies according to the needs of the property.
Using your water meter to detect leaks
Turn off all faucets and water-consuming appliances, including evaporative coolers and ice-makers in refrigerators.
For the meter with the analog display, check the needle’s position on the meter dial and note the time. Check the needle’s position again after 15-30 minutes. If the needle’s position has changed, you may have a leak. Some meters have a blue triangle dial on the face, which turns with low flow through the meter and makes it easier to detect when water is moving through the meter.
For the meter with a digital display, check the flow rate display screen. Any flow rate other than zero may indicate you have a leak.
To determine if there is a leak inside the house or between the water meter and the house, turn off your house valve. If the needle on the water meter dial (or the blue triangle) continues to move or the flow rate is anything other than zero, you may have a leak between your house and the water meter. If the needle has not moved or the flow rate is zero, you may have a leak within your house.