Water Meters


Read Your Meter

Proper water usage and conservation is an effective method for all citizens to help manage our available water resources. Understanding your water usage and finding and repairing leaks on a timely basis will contribute to the overall management of our resources and save you money.

Locating Your Meter

In this area of the country, water meters are located inside properties to prevent them from freezing. The water meter is usually located in the basement, close to where the water service enters the property. Occasionally it may be located in a crawl space. If you have difficulty locating your meter, find where the water service enters your property and follow the service line. Eventually it will lead to your water meter

Reading Your Meter

Reading your water meter is like reading a car odometer. You read the numbers left to right. This reading is the total cubic feet (1 cubic foot = 7.48 gallons) of water that has passed through the meter over its lifetime. Most meters have six dials. Larger meters have seven dials (six dials and a fixed zero at the end).

Calculating Your Water Use

Pick a starting point at which to read your meter. Record the reading and date/time. Anytime after that, record the reading and date/time again. Subtract the first reading from the second to find your usage. Since the meters record usage in cubic feet, convert the usage to gallons by multiplying your usage times 7.48.


First reading: 142,650 cubic feet
Second reading: 143,270 cubic feet
Difference (water used): 620 cubic feet Gallons used

620 x 7.48 = 4,638 gallons

Note: Sioux Falls bills in units of one hundred cubic feet, (noted on your bill as CCF) so usage is rounded off to six billing units.

Finding Leaks

Leak Indicator Method

 On the face of the water meter there is a small red triangular indicator that will spin as water is flowing through the meter. The speed at which the indicator spins is based on how much water is flowing through the meter. If a small amount of water is leaking through a faucet or toilet, the indicator will spin very slowly.

It is recommended to check for leaks at least once a month. Make sure all water use inside and outside of the property is turned off. When you know that all the water usage is off, the leak indicator should not move.

Meter Comparison Method

 Comparing the meter readings at periodic intervals is another way to check for leaks.

For example, read and record your water meter reading and sweep hand. Repeat the process several hours later. If there is a change in the reading, you may have a leak.

Comparing meter readings before you go to work and when you get home, or before you go to bed and when you get up, are ideal times to check for leaks. Make sure you take into account any water that may have been used (ice makers, water softeners, etc.). If you have determined that a leak exists, you may be able to isolate the problem by turning off each water-using device one at a time and recheck your meter.

Toilet leaks

 When a toilet leaks, water escapes from the tank into the bowl and washes away into the sewer system. Toilets are notorious for hidden leaks. Unless a toilet “runs” after each flush, we seldom notice them. The best way to find a toilet leak is to put a small dye tablet or a few drops of food coloring in the tank. Wait 10 to 15 minutes to see if the color shows up in the bowl without flushing the toilet. If color appears, your toilet is leaking.

Dye tablets are available free of charge at the Utility Billing Office.