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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

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How to read your water meter

Illustration of a water meter face

Step 1. Locate your meter - At residential properties, the water meter is generally located in the ground near the curb in front of the house. The meter box will have a metal lid with “Water Meter” marked on top.

Step 2. Open the meter - To read the meter, remove the lid of your water meter box. Be careful! Lids can be heavy and sometimes bugs and small animals hide inside the meter boxes. Replace the lid each time you finish looking at the meter to avoid a safety hazard.

Step 3. Understand the dial - Water is measured in CCFs, which are units of 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons. The meter above reads 1935 CCF for billing purposes. The last two numbers on the register are not read for billing. The register does not reset to zero after each read. One complete “sweep” of the sweep hand means you have used one cubic foot or 7.48 gallons of water.

Step 4. Find the leak detection dial - Most residential meters have a leak detection dial. The leak detection dial may be a red or blue triangular-shaped dial or a blue snowflake-shaped dial. It may spin rapidly when water is running. If water is dripping, the leak detection dial may move slowly.

Watch a video on how to use your meter to check for leaks: