June 25, 2015

Understanding Your Water Meter

Your water meter is read each month to determine your water consumption. Meters are typically located in your basement, although most residential and commercial meters are read by remote equipment which does not require Des Moines Water Works staff to enter your home or business. Each month, your meter read is displayed on the bottom of your statement.  If your meter is easily accessible, you can read the water meter yourself to verify the reads against your statement.

The readings are displayed like the odometer on your car and read from left to right.  Most meters in Des Moines measure in cubic feet, and typically reflect six digits.  The first four digits on the meter are shown verbatim on your statement (exception: any leading zeroes are omitted).  However, Des Moines Water Works bills only in hundred cubic feet increments, so the last two digits on your statement will always be “00,” regardless of what is shown on your meter.

Layout 1_Page 1If you notice your water bill is the same amount some months, it is not uncommon and can occur especially for customers who are fairly consistent water users. It occurs because Des Moines Water Works bills in 100 cubic foot increments. Although your actual water consumption does in fact vary from month to month, the meter must “roll over” to a new hundred cubic feet before you are charged for the last 100 cubic feet.  For example, if your meter read is 173934 as shown in the illustration, you would not be charged for any additional consumption until the meter rolls over to the next hundred cubic feet, which would be a meter read of 174000.   It is important to note that 100 cubic feet is equivalent to 748 gallons, which means that if you are within 748 gallons of last month’s consumption, your charges could be identical despite slightly different usage from one month to the next.

Des Moines Water Works’ automated radio frequency meter reading equipment in most of our service areas allows Des Moines Water Works to receive two meter reads each day, and these reads are available to you via your online account at www.dmww.com.

If your consumption is higher than expected, you can monitor your daily reads at any time by querying your meter reading data on our website.  If, after monitoring your daily consumption, you believe you may have a leak, call a customer service representative at (515) 283-8700 to discuss what may be causing the high consumption.

Posted by: Laura Sarcone No Comments
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