Do you suspect that you have a water leak, but can’t really find it? One way for you to determine where you do have a water leak is by reading your water meter. Knowing how to read your water meter can help you not only reduce your water consumption but save money as well.

How To Read Your Water Meter

The average person uses around 133 litres per day and anything above this may indicate a water leak.

A water meter is what measures the amount of water that each property uses. It is commonly situated outside towards the front of the property.

Your water meter may present different coloured numbers or backgrounds. Numbers with a black background represent cubic meters(1000 litres=1 cubic meters) and the three red numbers and/or dials represent the number of litres used.

When reading the water meter, read only the first three red numbers or for large leaks it may go into the black digits. The numbers should be read from left to right, whereas dials should be read in a clockwise direction.

Checking your water meter monthly or quarterly is recommended. It is important to record your meter readings to detect any sudden increases which can be an indicator of a hidden water leak.

Using Your Water Meter To see if there is a leak present

  1. Locate your water meter and write down the numbers that are shown.
  2. Turn off all water taps and ensure that water does not run or is not in use for the next hour.
  3. After one hour has passed, check the water meter reading again and identify if there are changes. If the numbers did change, then this can indicate a leak.
  4. If there is a leak, the first area to check is the toilets. Turn off the water valves of the toilet and then repeat steps 1 to 3.
  5. If numbers haven’t changed, then you may have a leaking toilet. Toilets are the cause of one of the most common leaks in the home, with around 1 in 10 homes and businesses having a leaking toilet. A toilet leaking clean water from the cistern to the pan can waste up to 400 litres of water a day. The sound of a constant trickle at the back of the toilet pan is an obvious sign that something’s not right. However, some leaks are silent and easy to miss.Alternatively:
    • Half an hour after a flush, wipe the back of the pan dry with toilet tissue.
    • Place a new, dry sheet of toilet tissue across the back of the pan.
    • Leave it in place for a period of time without using the toilet, or overnight.
    • If the paper is wet or torn in the morning – you have a leaking toilet.


  6. If the numbers have increased, however, this means that there can be a leak elsewhere on your property. In this case, it is recommended to contact NW Water Services to help you detect and identify water leaks.