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Get information on how to read water meters, how water meters work, water meter accuracy testing, and permits.

Water Meter Servicing

If your water meter is leaking, malfunctioning, making noise or the sensor is disconnected, please email or call 311 for service.

The water meter is located where the water service line enters the home or building. Access to the water meter is required to ensure the device can be serviced and replaced as needed. There is limited opportunity to relocate the water meter.

A water meter is a device that measures how much water you use. Water meters are typically located in the lowest level of the residence, where the water service line enters your home, and right next to the main shut-off valve.

The water meter mechanically measures how much water is used in your home. This information is used to determine your water bill. Water use is measured in cubic metres with one cubic metre (1 m3) equalling 1,000 litres.

Residential water meters rely on water flowing through the meter to physically move the measuring element in direct proportion to the amount of water that passes through the meter. This action drives the register that records the water use.

A reading device (called a touchpad) normally located on the outside of your home is connected to the water meter via a communication wire. In order to obtain a read from the water meter, the meter reader must walk by and make direct contact with this device using special reading equipment. It is important that the reading device is accessible to the meter reader in order to obtain a read.

You can find your water meter in the lowest part of your residence, in your basement or crawl space. The meter is next to the main water shut-off valve in your home.

Analog (dial) meters

Get to know your meter. Your water meter has a series of dials and hands. The dials measure the amount of water you've used in your home over time and are used to calculate your water bill.

  • The sweep hand measures water flowing through the meter. As it completes a full circle, it causes the dials to turn once.
  • The flow indicator measures any leaks in your home. The flow indicator moves counter-clockwise whenever water is moving through the meter.
  • If either the low-flow indicator or the sweep hand moves when you believe that you are not using water in your home, then you might have a leak.

Digital meter

If you have a water meter with a digital display, here’s how to read this meter.

  • Continually shine a bright flashlight over the solar panel (found on the register) to activate the LCD display.*

*Note: When the register display first comes on via a flashlight, all icons will be briefly displayed followed by firmware information. The register display will then change (every eight seconds) to show the reading and then the flow rate. The flow rate is per minute. When the display shows “RATE," the flow rate is being displayed.

  • The 9-digit LCD shows your meter reading in cubic metres (1 cubic metre equals 1,000 litres. The last four digits of the reading are decimal points (e.g., 26.3987 cubic metres).

Flow indicator

The flow indicator shows the direction of water flow:

  • ON – water is in use
  • OFF – water is not in use
  • Flashing – water is running slowly
    • (–) means reverse flow
    • (+) means forward flow
  • If your water bill reflects unexpectedly high water consumption, you may request the water meter at your property to be tested to confirm it is working properly.
  • Before requesting a test, please thoroughly investigate other reasons for high consumption, such as potential leaks, seasonal water use or inefficient plumbing fixtures.
  • If the high consumption cannot be explained by other factors, you have the option to contact to request a water meter testing form. 
  • Once you complete and return the form, the Region will send you an invoice for the actual cost of meter testing (average fee in 2022 for a residential meter is $650 to $750); this fee will be refunded if the meter is over-registering by more than 2%. Please note that if the test result indicates the meter is operating within the accuracy standards, this fee will not be refunded.
  • The test is performed by a third party, and takes up to four weeks. 
  • During testing, please keep your account current by paying your water bills in full or by establishing a payment agreement if needed.

What am I responsible for?

Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of all services, plumbing and devices located on private property. Learn more about the different roles and responsibilities of property owners and Halton Region in the Drinking Water System By-law