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Understanding your water meter

Learning how to read your meter can be a handy skill to have and it is not difficult to learn.

Being able to read your meter will allow you to monitor your daily usage, to check the usage of individual appliances, to check for possible water leaks and to take action promptly instead of finding out from your next bill that something may be wrong.

The information below provides details about your meter, about the rights and responsibilities with regard to reading your meter and provision of access.

Meter identifiers

Each water meter has a serial number.

Your meter number will also appear under the 'account details' section of your bill.

The meter number on your bill should match the meter number on your water meter.

If it does not match you should immediately contact SA Water.

Where is your water meter?

Meters are usually located in obvious places near the front of the property.

Some grouped properties, such as strata titles, may only have a single meter supplying all residences.

Who reads your water meter?

Your water retailer is responsible for reading your meter.

In South Australia, the main water retailer is SA Water, but in some areas councils or private operators may provide water services.

Your meter will be read every three months and you will receive four bills per year.

Access to your meter

You must provide clear access to your meter at all times for readings, connections, restrictions and maintenance.

If clear access is not provided, your meter may be relocated at a cost to you.

Contact SA Water for more information.

How to read your meter

Your water meter is read from left to right.

  • The black and white numbers record the kilolitres.
  • The red numbers record the litres.

Contact SA Water for more information.

What if you have a leak?

You are responsible for the installation, repair, maintenance and replacement of all the private water pipes and fittings that run from your property to the water meter.

If you believe you have a water leak at your property, the first thing you must do is determine whether the leak is at the meter or in the private pipework from your house to the meter.

Keep in mind that if the leak is in the non-private pipes before your meter, then the leaking water will not flow through your meter and therefore will not affect your bill.

You can conduct your own simple test to determine the accuracy of your meter, or confirm if there is leak:

  1. Turn off all taps and appliances that use water.
  2. Take a reading of the red (litre) numbers from your meter.
  3. Fill up a bucket of a specific size (e.g. 10 litres) with water from your tap.
  4. Re-read the red numbers on the meter. They should have progressed by the number of litres in the bucket (e.g. 10).

If you suspect there is a leak or an issue with the accuracy of your meter, SA Water can conduct a meter test to determine if the leak or issue is with their equipment.

This will be at a cost to you, unless the test reveals the leak or issue is their fault.

If it is determined that the leak is not at the meter, then you will need to organise a plumber to check over your pipes as soon as possible.

This will be at your cost, and the bills will continue to be high until the leak is fixed.

If you discover a concealed leak in your private pipework, SA Water may provide a one-off ‘leakage allowance’ payment if certain conditions are met.

More information on water leaks is available at SA Water’s website.

Links and further information