About Your Meter

All EBMUD customers have a meter that measures their water use. Water bills reflect how much water was used since the last meter reading. Meters measure cubic feet of water used (one cubic foot equals 7-1/2 gallons). EBMUD bills in units of 100 cubic feet (748 gallons). Meters are usually in the ground under a cement cover (with an EBMUD logo) by the street near the curb.

It is helpful to know where your meter is, and how to read it. Why?

  • If you get a high bill, a meter test will tell you if you have a leak, and can help you pinpoint the location (indoors or out).
  • By tracking your water use, you’ll know what activities or fixtures are using water, when, and how much, so you can make informed choices about how you use water. For example, if you have sprinklers, you can read your meter before and after an irrigation cycle to find out how much water is used each time you water your garden.
  • If you read your meter often, you are more likely to catch spikes in water use quickly, making it more likely you’ll catch a leak early.

Reading Your Meter

There are two basic types of meters: a straight-reading meter which looks like an odometer, and the older round-reading meter with several separate dials. These directions will help you read your meter accurately. If you need help or have questions or comments about your water service, please call 1-866-40-EBMUD.

straight-reading meter

To read a straight-reading meter:
Read the numbers shown under the words "cubic feet." This meter reads 008171, which is the total number of cubic feet of water recorded since the meter was installed. Because EBMUD charges in units of 100 cubic feet, the meter reader disregards the last two numbers and records a reading of 81 units.

If you used 1,200 cubic feet of water during the next billing period, the next meter reading would be 008171 plus 1200, equaling 009371 cubic feet, or 93 units. Your bill would be based on the difference between the two readings, or 12 units at 748 gallons per unit (8,976 gallons).

To read a round-reading meter:
There are two styles of round-reading meters, both with dials that read like a clock. For the style below left, the "one foot" dial is used for testing, not reading. For the style on the right, the same holds true for the unmarked dial shown bottom center; it is used only for testing.

round-readin meter Herseyround-reading meter

Begin with the "100,000" dial at the upper left above the one foot dial and record the number indicated. Then read each dial in a clockwise direction to the "10" dial. Record each number. If the hand is between numbers, use the lower number. In this example, the left meter registers 8, 0, 6, 3, and 2, respectively (80,632 cubic feet). Disregard the last two numbers (32), because our charge is based on units of 100 cubic feet. The number of units registered is 806.

The meter on the right registers as 9, 8, 4, 8, and 9, equaling 98,489 cubic feet or 984 units. If you were to use 13 more units by the next time your meter was checked, the reading would be 997 units. Disregard the last two numbers (89), because our charge is based on units of 100 cubic feet.

Water Leaks and High Bills

If you have a higher than average water bill, you may have a leak. Leaks can occur in toilets, pipes, faucets, water heaters, ice machines, dishwashers, washing machines, and irrigation systems.