District News Articles

  2. One way to keep track of how much water you use is to read your own water meter every now and then. Proper water usage and conservation is an effective method for all citizens to help manage our available water resources. Understanding your water usage and finding and repairing leaks on a timely basis will contribute to the overall management of our resources and save you money.


    Locating your meter


    Reading the meter is easy, but you may need to do a little work to get to it. Most District customers have outdoor meters set in pits in the front yard or in the sidewalk. The pit is a round metal plate about 12 inches in diameter, and usually says “Water Meter” on it. Most meter pits also are fitted with an Automatic Meter Reading device (an AMR) fitted through the lid, as shown in this photo. There is a five-sided brass nut at the edge. There are a number of other variations of meter pit lids, including plastic composite lids. Newer AMR devices are mounted under the lid instead of through it.


    Reading your water meter


    Reading your water meter is like reading a car odometer. You read the numbers left to right. This reading is the total cubic feet (1 cubic foot = 7.48 gallons) of water that has passed through the meter over its lifetime. Most meters have six dials. Larger meters have seven dials (six dials and a fixed zero at the end).


    Calculating your water use


    Pick a starting point at which to read your meter. Record the reading and date/time. Anytime after that, record the reading and date/time again. Subtract the first  reading from the second to find your usage. Since the meters record usage in cubic feet, convert the usage to gallons by multiplying your usage times 7.48.



    First reading......................142,650 cubic feet

    Second reading..................143,270 cubic feet

    Difference (water used)............620 cubic feet

    Gallons used........620 x 7.48 = 4,638 gallons



    Finding Leaks


    Some leaks are easy to find—a leaky faucet or a dripping shower head—but others may go unnoticed. We have experienced situations where undetected toilet leaks, malfunctioning water softeners, and irrigation system leaks have cost customers hundreds of dollars. Following are tips to help find undetected leaks at your property:


    Leak Indicator Method - The little red diamond on the face of your meter is a leak indicator. It will rotate with a very low flow through the meter. Make sure all water use inside and outside of the property is turned off. When you know that all water usage is off, the leak indicator should not move.


    Meter Comparison Method - Another method to check for leaks is to compare the meter readings at  periodic intervals. For example, read and record your water meter reading and sweep hand. Repeat the process several hours later. If there is a change in the reading, you may have a leak. Comparing meter readings before you go to work and when you get home, or before you go to bed and when you get up, are ideal times to check for leaks. Make sure you take into account any water that may have been used (ice makers, water softeners, etc.). If  you have determined that a leak exists, you may be able to isolate the problem by turning off each water-using device one at a time and recheck your meter.


    Toilet leaks - When a toilet leaks, water escapes from the tank into the bowl and washes away into the sewer system. Toilets are notorious for hidden leaks. Unless a toilet “runs” after each flush, we seldom notice them. The best way to find a toilet leak is to put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. Wait 10 to 15 minutes to see if the color shows up in the bowl without flushing the toilet. If color appears, your toilet is leaking.



    Monitor Your Water Usage


    Monitoring your water usage is easy. Just periodically read your water meter and calculate usage (same method described above to check for water leaks). For example, if you want to know how much water your irrigation system is using each time it cycles, record the meter reading, run your irrigation system, re-read your meter, and calculate the usage. Use the same method to determine how much water your appliances are using (dishwasher, clothes washer, water softener, etc.). Read your meter periodically to calculate a daily, weekly, or seasonal average.





    Who owns the water meter? The District is responsible for maintenance, repairs and replacement of the water meter only, however the pipes that supply the services to the water meter are owned by the homeowner and are the responsibility of the homeowner for any maintenance or repairs needed.


    How often do you read my water meter? The District reads each water meter bi-monthly for the purposes of billing water consumption.


    I think my water meter is faulty. Water meters are very reliable and accurate; however, if you have cause for concern about the readings of your meter, please contact the District office at 303-979-2333 for assistance.


    There’s water in the meter pit. Is there something wrong with it? Ground water can seep into the box after a rain or snow fall that holds the meter. It doesn’t affect the meter in any way. If there hasn’t been a weather event that could cause seepage, there could be a leak.


    My water meter is damaged. What should I do? Please contact the District office at 303-979-2333 for assistance. The District will send an operations staff member to your home and investigate the problem and then advise you on what actions need to be taken, if any.  There is no charge for this service.


    Why should I read my water meter? Regularly reading your water meter will help you track your usage and help you to quickly identify leaks either inside your home or underground. This will go a long way in preventing property damage and will save you money.


    If you have any questions about your water meter, call Scott Hand, Platte Canyon Water and Sanitation District operations supervisor at 303-979-2333.