Read Your Meter

How to Read Your Water Meter

Your water meter can tell you how much water you’re using during a given time period. Follow these easy steps to read your meter:

  1. Locate your meter box.  Most water meters are located in in-ground concrete boxes near the street curb.
  2. To expose the gauge, carefully remove the meter lid by inserting a screwdriver into the hole and lift and shift it to the side carefully.
  3. Flip open the meter’s cap.  Careful! Black widow spiders sometimes inhabit these dark spaces so be cautious when reaching into the meter box.
  4. Locate the odometer (the number bar) on the meter's face.  Simply read the numbers and write them down to create your starting read.
  5. When you've reached the end of the time period you're interested in monitoring (e.g. one day, one week, etc.) repeat steps 1-4 and then subtract the original reading from the new reading.
  6. The meter records usage in CUBIC FEET.  To convert to GALLONS, multiply by 7.48.
  7. When you're done, don't forget to close the meter cap and then carefully replace the meter box lid.

This meter reading process can be done over a day or a week to track your water usage.  You can also see the amount of water used to irrigate your garden. Turn off all water inside and outside the house, read the meter, then run the sprinklers or irrigation and when complete, take a new reading.

Watch this short How to read your meter tutorial

Learn how to measure your water use by reading your meter. Roy Sikes from Soquel Creek Water District explains how to use your meter to measure your water use over a day or after washing a load of laundry. The meter shown is similar to most meters in the Soquel, Capitola, Aptos and La Selva Beach area.


Think you have a leak?

Most meters come with a leak detector—a chrome and black circle in the center of the meter, which rotates when any amount of water is used. If the circle rotates even when all the water is turned off, there’s a leak somewhere in your water system.

Learn more about finding and fixing leaks.

Water meter conversions

Each number is about 3/4 of a gallon. (0.1 = 3/4 of a gallon or .748 gallons)
One complete sweep of the dial = 1 cubic foot or 7.48 gallons
One hundred sweeps of the dial = one billing unit = 748 gallons of water. The White numbers in the center register will increase by 1.


One cubic foot = 7.48 gallons
Hundred cubic feet or ccf = 748 gallons or 1 unit of water (as shown on your bill)

For precise water usage readings, see the numbers on the outside of the dial.
0.1 = .748 gallons
0.2 = 1.5 gallons
0.3 = 2.2 gallons
0.4 = 3 gallons
0.5 = 3.74 gallons
0.6 = 4.5 gallons
0.7 = 5.2 gallons
0.8 = 6 gallons
0.9= 6.7 gallons
1 = 7.48 gallons or 1 cubic foot