How to Read Your Water Meter

There are several reasons why you might want to locate and read your water meter. First, you might be interested to know how much water you use in a day. By reading your meter at the beginning and end of a day you can compare the two reads to tell how much water you and your family used. The second reason is to check for leaks. To do this, turn off all the taps in your house, then look at your meter. If the meter is still turning, chances are you have a leak somewhere. Here are some tips to help you find and read your water meter:

Step 1: Locate Your Meter

Your water meter is generally located near the curb in front of your home or place of business in a direct line with your main outside faucet. It is housed in a concrete box usually marked "water". Carefully remove the lid by using a tool such as a large screwdriver. Insert the tool into the hole and lift the lid off. Please, do not use your fingers. Visually examine the area around the meter to make sure there are no harmful insects or other animals.

Step 2: Read Your Water Meter

All customers within the Santa Fe Irrigation District have their water use measured by a meter.

Santa Fe Irrigation District meters measure water in cubic feet (one cubic foot equals approximately 7.5 gallons). Charges for the amount of water consumed are based on the number of units (one unit equals 100 cubic feet or approximately 748.05 gallons) used during a billing period.
Cubic Feet Water Meter
The majority of the district's meters are the straight-reading meter, which resembles an odometer in a car. In the meter shown, the reading is taken from figures shown under the words Cubic Feet. The meter reads 817.10 which is the total number of cubic feet of water recorded since the meter was installed. If the utility bills in units of 100 cubic feet they would read this meter as simply 817.

Help Your Meter Reader

Your water meter is an accurate and dependable water-measuring device used to register all the water used in your home or building. The water meter is usually located in a small box in the ground near the street or the edge of the property. To ensure access for reading and servicing your meter, it is important that you maintain the area around your meter box. Most people are not aware that their water meter is located within a utility easement. This means that when landscaping or fencing your yard, you need to maintain enough distance from the meter and box to allow us to read, service and repair your meter. It also means that it is the property owner's responsibility to ensure that the meter box is visible and accessible at all times.


Please keep these things in mind when landscaping:

  • Permanent structures such as walls, fences and gates cannot be installed in a utility easement area without and encroachment permit.
  • Your meter area should be kept clear of shrubbery, trees and low growing bushes.
  • When planting trees, keep in mind that tree roots can become entangled around the underground pipes increasing the possibility of broken pipes and water leaks.
  • Shrubbery can become bushy and hinder our ability to read your meter.
  • Customers who already have established landscaping are required to trim their plants to allow access to the meter box.
If landscaping does cause access difficulty, we ask that you clear it. However, if we need immediate access we may clear the vegetation without prior notice. Please note that the District has the right to remove obstructions placed in a utility easement area and is not responsible for any damage that may be caused by removing the obstruction.


If you have any questions about maintaining your meter or need help in locating your water meter, please call the District's Customer Service Department at 858-756-2424.