What Your Water Meter is Telling You!
With San Diego’s extensive drought-like conditions becoming more critical each day, water waste and water conservation are hot-button topics. And, it is only a matter of time before we are also faced with city regulations to begin conservation efforts. Whether you plan to dryscape your lawn, replace your fixtures with high-efficiency ones, or simply reduce the amount of water your household uses, the most important place to start is arming yourself with knowledge.
As we advised in our “Fix-a-leak Week Series,” your water meter can be an amazing resource for finding and diagnosing minor leaks. It can also tell you how much water you use per day, month and year. This comes in handy when deciding on ways to reduce water consumption and also allows you to verify your water usage against the water company bill each month. When you see a spike, you can determine if it is an error, a leak or if you need to address any excesses in water consumption.
You will find your water meter enclosed in a concrete box, usually near the street/sidewalk and often marked with a “W” and the city. Open the lid carefully; there may be spiders, snakes, and bugs, with a long metal tool if necessary and you can begin reading your water meter. It is also helpful to know where the meter is in case you need to shut the house water off in an emergency!
Water meters are measured in cubic feet, and 1 cubic foot is equal to 7.48 gallons. A full rotation or “sweep” hand indicates 7.48 gallons of water used. Water companies generally charge by the units (each cubic foot) in 100’s.
For example: The meter reading here is 4,033 (4,033 units) and equals to 30,166.84 gallons of water. This number does not reset each month, so by keeping track of the meter readings on a regular schedule, you can determine the units you will be billed for and match it to your water consumption. If your meter reads 4033 units when you check at the beginning of the month and your household uses 1200 units, your meter should read 4045 on the next reading, a jump of 12 units or 1200 cubic feet and 8976 gallons of water, which equals to approximately 299 gallons of water per day.
And, if you take it a step further and complete your own household water audit, you can see the areas in which you can conserve and cut back water use. If everyone used one less gallon per day (cut your shower time by a few minutes and install a high-efficiency showerhead) that would equal about 85 billion gallons of water per year in the US.
It is especially important, as we are facing water regulations in San Diego, to understand water use and the ways in which we can conserve. It only takes a bit of knowledge and small steps as individuals to make great changes in the community.
For more information, or to speak with a plumber regarding your water meter, call 1-800 Bill Howe (245-5469). We have been the experts in San Diego plumbing for 38 years and want to help educate our community during times of water conservation and how to read your water meter!
Sources from this article came from San Diego.gov/water/rates/meters/howtoread.