Your Water Meter
All customers of the District are metered. Meters are read every two months and your water bill is based on actual usage. Usage is measured in cubic feet. One hundred cubic feet (ccf) (sometimes referred to as a “unit of Water”) is the basis of your bill. One unit of water equals 748 gallons.
Meters are durable and read accurately for 20-25 years. The District replaces a number of meters every year based on age, and replaces some when tests show they do not read accurately.
Most residential customers have a 5/8” or 3/4” meter. Large commercial, industrial and multi-family customers range up to 10”. Here is some information about your meter and meter box.
Where is My Meter?
Most residential meters are located in meter boxes in parking strips or sidewalks in the public right of way or in the front yard. The meter is usually in line with the hose bib. If you notice your meter box lid is missing, broken, ill-fitting, or a possible tripping hazard, please call us at 503-665-4179.
What Does The Meter Face Look Like and How do I Read It?
Not all meters are identical, but generally look like the photo.
The red triangle (1) is the Flow Indicator (depending on the brand of meter, the indicator may be a different color or shape [e.g., a red star]). It rotates when water is flowing through the meter. If it turns when all water is turned off on the property, you may have a leak.
One full revolution of the Sweep Arm (2) indicates one cubic foot of water (about 7 1/2 gallons) has passed through the meter.
The Register (3) looks much like a mileage odometer in a car. It keeps a running total of all water that has passed through the meter. The difference between the last reading and most current reading is the basis for each bi-monthly water bill.
District personnel read meters every two months. Most of a customer’s water bill is based on actual water use. We do everything we can to obtain an accurate meter reading so we don’t have to estimate the bill. Sometimes meter boxes are full of water and dirt, in which case the Meter Reader removes the water and dirt in order to obtain an accurate read. Only if the meter is broken and not registering water use do we generate an estimated bill. Such meters are replaced as soon as they are found.
How Can I Tell if I Have A Leak?
Many meters in the District have a flow indicator ( in the diagram). If all water in the house is turned off, and the flow indicator is moving, you probably have a leak and should call us to verify the situation. For meters without a flow indicator, turn off all water using devices and fixtures, and with an erasable marker, mark where the Sweep Arm is; wait a few minutes, and see if it has moved. If it has, you probably have a leak and should call us. It may take a while to discover a small leak. A similar approach is to make the mark at night before retiring and check it in the morning. To view a video on how to check for a leak, please visit the Regional Water Providers Consortium website by clicking here.
How do I Turn Off My Meter?
In some meter boxes, on the customer side of the meter, there is a shut off valve that looks like what is on your hose bib. The valve can be used to shut off the water to your entire property beyond the meter. (NOTE: The meter is still under pressure, so please do not attempt to disconnect anything inside the meter box.) If you need assistance turning off your water, please call the office.
Meter Box Replacement
An ongoing program at the District is the maintenance, repair and replacement of meter boxes. This is usually done by one District employee, sometimes two. They will be wearing safety vests with our logo on them and driving a District truck also with our logo on it. Even if the box is replaced, water is not turned off to the building (residence or business), so we do not notify customers when we are doing meter box work. We just want to let customers know about the program, so you won’t be surprised or concerned when you see employees at work. If a customer has a problem with a meter box or lid, please contact us, and we will fix it.