Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

Portland Water Bureau

From forest to faucet, we deliver the best drinking water in the world.


1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Your Water Meter

Keep your water meter accessible

Water meters are read monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly, depending on the type of account you have.  Sometimes it’s easy to forget the importance of keeping the meter accessible to our staff.  Parked vehicles, overgrown plants, yard debris and construction materials prevent meter readers and maintenance crews from doing their jobs.  We will leave this notice on your property if we were not able to access your meter.  You may receive an estimated bill if we could not obtain a meter reading. 

Not only does City Code require meters to be kept makes sense, too.  A blocked meter may not allow you to shut water off quickly if a pipe bursts or a major appliance fails.   

Please minimize planting in the area around your meter.  If a planting obstructs the meter, you will be asked to prune it or remove it.  We can do the work for you if you prefer.  For information, contact Customer Service.

Avoid fees

City Council authorizes us, by ordinance, to assess a fee each time a City employee must return to a property in order to read or maintain a meter that has been blocked.  Your account is subject to that fee any time a meter reader or utility worker is unable to do their required job.  If necessary, vehicles parked over a meter may be cited and towed.

Show your address

Please ensure the number is clearly displayed on your home or business.  This also assists emergency personnel who may need to find your address in a hurry.

Where to Find Your Water Meter

Water meters are typically located:

     -  In front of your house or business and

     -  Inside a meter box that is set flush to the ground.

Look for the meter box on the street side of the sidewalk or set into the sidewalk.  

For residential properties, the meter box is usually located in the public right of way (sidewalks and parking strips are part of the right of way) adjacent to the property line.  If your home is on a corner lot, it might be on either the front or side street depending on the location of the main serving your property.   

If your property is situated on an unimproved street, the meter box may be hidden by gravel or vegetation.  If you need help finding it, please contact Customer Service.

In some commercial buildings, the meter may be accessed from inside the building basement.   The meters to some multi family properties or large commercial buildings may be located in a vault with limited access.   In some cases where meter reading is difficult, special meters allow us to obtain automated readings. 

How to Read Your Water Meter

This brochure explains how to read your water meter and check for leaks.

Notice of Increased Usage 

Meter readers upload the readings from your meter into a hand-held electronic unit they carry with them. The unit sends a signal to the reader if it detects an unusually high reading for the property.  When that happens, the reader will leave a notice of increased usage on your property to let you know.  The notice suggests some reasons, such as summer watering, an increased number of people in the household and structural or underground leaks.  A chart on the back of the card shows how much water is wasted due to leaks. 

Cold Weather Preparation 

Even in our mild climate, unpredictable winter weather sneaks up on us occasionally.  When it does it can wreak havoc on your water pipes if you are not prepared. Icy winds and cold temperatures can leave you without running water and do a lot of damage if your pipes freeze. There are many precautions you can take to be ready for cold weather when it arrives.