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How to Read Your Water Meter

Every Tampa Water Department customer has one or more water meters that measure the amount of water you have used. You can read the meter servicing your property by:

  • Verifying the reading that appears on your monthly bill
  • Monitoring how much water you use in a day
  • Check for water leaks

Finding Your Water Meter

The water meter on your property is usually housed in a concrete box in the ground near the street, between the sidewalk and curb (right-of-way). Most meter boxes have a metal, concrete, or composite cover or lid marked “water” or “water meter” as shown in the photos. Other meters have a simple lid you can flip open to read the meter.

To remove the cover, you will need a tool, such as a large screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver in the hole and carefully lift the cover from the box. Please be careful as most of the lids are very heavy.

Photo of a water meter in a meter box.
Close-up photo of a water meter.

Understanding Your Water Meter

Most of the Tampa Water Department meters look like the one pictured above.

  1. Meter Dial: The dial is partitioned into 10 divisions and looks very similar to a clock.
  2. Meter Register (Odometer): The water meter records your total water use in a similar way as the odometer on your car records miles driven. The reading on your water meter is the total amount of water that has been used by the household since it was installed or replaced. Read the numbers straight across, from left to right. Each turn of a number in the white register indicates that 100 cubic feet (or 748 gallons) of water has passed through the meter.
  3. Sweep Hand: The large red needle on the dial measures water use in cubic feet. The markings at the outer edge of the dial indicate tenths and hundredths of one cubic foot. A complete rotation of the sweep hand equals one cubic foot of water (7.48 gallons). The sweep hand does not move if water is not moving through it.
  4. Low-Flow Indicator: The small red triangle shaped dial on the meter face rotates as water moves through the water meter. The Low Flow Indicator will rotate with very little water movement. This indicator should not be moving if no water is being used inside or outside your home. If you see that it is rotating, and you’ve shut off the water inside and outside your home, then you probably have a leak.

Calculating Your Water Bill (Usage)

Use the following steps to determine how much water you use over a period of time.

Steps Example
Step 1: Write down the numbers you see on the meter register, as well as the date. After a period of days (for example, 1 week), read the meter register again and write it down and write down the date. Day 1 reading: 007640; Reading one week later: 008330
Step 2: Subtract the first reading from the second reading. This number is your water use in cubic feet. 008330 - 007640 = 690 cubic feet
Step 3: One cubic foot is equal to 7.48 gallons. To see your water use in gallons, multiply the water use number you calculated in Step 2 by 7.48. 690 x 7.48 = 5,161 gallons of water (approximately)
Step 4: Divide the water use in gallons by the number of days between readings. This is your average gallons per day during the period. 5,161 gallons / 7 days = 737 gallons per day (approximately)


Water Meter Reading
How to Read Your Water Meter