Water Meter Reading Information

Your water meter measures the amount of water used in your household or business. The readings from the water meter are used by the city to determine how much you are charged on your water bill. You can read your meter to verify your bill, monitor your water use, or check for suspected leaks. This page will provide tips on reading your water meter and utilizing the information it provides.


First, you will need to locate your water meter. It is usually located near the street on the front of your property under a metal lid. Open the lid and examine the appearance of the meter.

Water Meter Features

There are several features on each meter face. The most important feature is the digital read-out, which is what the city uses to determine your consumption. Reading this part of the meter is very similar to reading the mileage on your car's odometer. The digital numbers are read from left to right.
Automated Water Meter
If there's not enough natural light to activate the display, you may need to shine a flashlight onto the face of the meter. If you wanted to monitor your consumption, record the date and time when you record the initial meter reading, then re-read the meter in a few days or weeks.

The next time you read the meter, the reading should be higher than your previous reading (unless you have been traveling or the premises are vacant). Subtract your initial reading from your current reading to determine your consumption for the time period between the two reading dates. If, when verifying your bill, you find your meter reading to be lower than your billed reading, call Durham One-Call at 919-560-1200 to report a possible misread of your meter.

Leak Detection

For some customers, the important feature of your meter may be the leak detection indicator. In the information provided pertaining to the meter's display, you will note that the leak indicator looks like a faucet. If the faucet symbol is flashing it means that you may possibly have an intermittent (occasional) leak. If the faucet symbol is on continuously you may possibly have a continuous leak. If you suspect a leak, first turn off all the water in your home. Then watch the leak indicator and the last three digits of your meter’s digital read-out. Keep an eye on the numbers for 30 minutes to two hours. If the indicator reveals a leak or if any of the last three digits have changed, locate and repair the leak immediately.

Watch this quick tutorial to learn more about locating and reading your water meter.