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How to Read Your Water Meter

How to Read Your Water Meter Video


There are several reasons why you may want to be able to locate and read your water meter.

First, you might be interested in just how much water you use in a day. By reading your meter at the beginning and the end of the day you can compare the two totals tell how much water you and your family used.

The second reason is to check for leaks. Turn off all the taps in your house and look at your meter. If it is still turning, chances are you have a leak somewhere.

Here are some hints to help you find and read your water meter:

STEP 1: Locate Your Meter

Your water meter is usually located near the curb in front of your home or place of business in a direct line with the main outside faucet. It is housed in a concrete box usually marked "water." Carefully remove the lid by using a tool such as a large screwdriver. Please, do not use your fingers. Insert the tool into one of the holes and pry the lid off. Visually examine the area around the meter to make sure there are no harmful insects or other animals. More details about finding your water meter.

STEP 2: Read Your Water Meter

All customers within the City of San Diego have their water use measured by a meter. This results in each customer paying their share of operating the system based on the amount of water used.

All City of San Diego meters measure water in cubic feet (one cubic foot equals about 7.5 gallons). Charges for the amount of water consumed are based on the number of units of 100 cubic feet (748.5 gallons) you use during a billing period.

There are two basic types of water meters -- the straight-reading meter that resembles an odometer in a car, and the round-reading meter that has several separate dials. However, over the years the City has used a number of different brands and models of water meters. To find information on your particular water meter, please consult the PDF icon Water Meter Visual Glossary.

How to Read Your Meter

Straight-Reading Meter

In the meter at the right, the reading is taken from the figures shown under the words CUBIC FEET. The meter reads 81,710, which is the total number of cubic feet of water recorded since the meter was installed. Because our charge is based on units of 100 cubic feet, the meter reader discards the last two numbers (the ones with the black background). So, this reading would actually be 817.

So, when we read your bills the next time you have used 1,200 cubic feet of water, the new reading would be 82,910 (81,710 plus 1,200). Again, we'd drop the last two numbers, and your official reading would be 829. Your bill would be figured by subtracting the old number (817) from the new number (829). You would then be billed for 12 units

It's important to note that the large sweep hand is used only for testing purposes.

For questions or concerns, call 619-515-3516 or email customercare@sandiego.gov