How to Read a Water Meter AKA How Much Water Are You Using?

Have you ever wondered how much water you used during a daily shower or how much water you use to wash your clothes? There's a water meter near your house that measures how much water you're using. If you need some help finding the meter, reading the meter, and interpreting the numbers, read on.

The water district (the friendly folks who charge you \$ for water) measures your water use in cubic feet (ft3). One cubic foot equals 7.48 gallons. The measurement is recorded at the water meter, which is usually located near your house, somewhere along your water line from the street to the house. (If you're living in an apartment or condo, this may not be the case.) The water meter will probably be in a meter box in the ground.

Here's a picture of a typical meter box:

Once you pry the lid off, you'll look inside and see a meter, which will probably look something like this:

Here it is again, a little closer:

To figure out how much water you're using during a period of time, or for a particular task, you'll need to read the meter twice and then enter the two meter readings below. For example, if you want to see how much water you're using for a specific activity, make sure there's no other water use ongoing (sprinklers, washing machine, etc.). Go outside and write down the number on the meter. Take the shower, or run the sprinklers, or wash your clothes. After you're finished, write down the number on the meter again. Fill in the first and second numbers below. Then click on the "Calculate Gallons Used" button to see how many gallons of water went down the drain.