Water Meters

The CBRM Water Utility completed a universal metering program in 2006.  Water meters are an essential part of the water distribution system and serve as a mechanism for equitable and accurate billing. A water meter is also one of the most important tools to assist customers conserve water and find leaks.

All new water services must be metered. A water meter will be supplied by the Utility and must be installed by the owner prior to the water being turned on. A standard 5/8" meter with 3/4" tail pieces and gaskets will be provided for residential customers. Small multi-unit dwellings and small businesses are supplied with a 3/4" water meter. Larger meters will be supplied for apartment buildings, commercial and industrial buildings following an evaluation by the Utility of flow requirements.

The meter must be protected from freezing or other damages and must be installed with suitable access for reading, inspection and repair.

Please review the Municipal Water Connection Procedure.

How to read the water meter

(cheat sheet)

Reading your meter regularly can help with leak detection, conservation and understanding your water bill.

Take a reading at a set time of the day; take a 2nd reading at the same time the next day; the difference between the two readings is your daily water consumption.

Several different types of water meters have been installed in CBRM since the 1940's. The information below describes several of the most recent models. Modern regulations require that a water meter be installed at the point of entry of the water service line into the building; directly after the building isolation valve. In older buildings, the meter may not be in exactly this location.

To read this meter, look at the dials on the meter register. They look much like an odometer on a car. There will be an label on the register face which indicates if the meter is reading in Imperial Gallons or in Cubic Metres. (1 cubic metre = 220 imperial gallons). There are six dials on this register, 5 are whole numbers and the last number represents 1/10th of a cubic metre.

The small red triangle is called a "low flow indicator". If that triangle is moving, there is definitely water flowing through the meter. Observing this triangle while there is no water being used in the house (dish washer, someone in the shower, etc.), will indicate if there is a leak in the plumbing. Most often, a unexplained high water bill is due to a running toilet. Watch the meter, it will tell you.

To read this meter, look at the dials on the meter register. The register on this meter will have 8 dials. The first five dials represent whole number, the last three number represent tenths, hundredths and thousandths. This register does not have a low flow indicator, however, if you observe the last dial on the register, it indicates 1/1,000th of a cubic metre (1 litre) of water flowing through the meter. This is a good leak indicator.

This is the newest meter in our inventory. The meter is digital and has a transmitter built-in to transmit the meter reading to the meter readers handheld computer. To read this meter, shine a flashlight on the flashlight icon on the register, this will activate the display.

The 9 digit LCD displays your meter reading in cubic meters The last 4 digits of the reading are decimal points. (e.g. – 12345.6789 cubic meters)

Click here (PDF 2.1 MB) for additional infomation on how to read the leak indicator on this water meter.

How the Utility reads the water meter

The CBRM Water Utility reads 28,000 water meters every three months - 4 times per year. That's 112,000 readings a year. Meter readings are taken several different ways, depending on the type of water meter installed.

Read Inside: Where a meter was installed over 20 years ago, the Utility still goes inside the dwelling or business to take a direct read from the meter register. In some cases, where the reader cannot get access to the meter because the customer is not home, the reader will leave a blue card at the property requesting that the homeowner read the meter and call in the reading. Meters of this vintage are systematically being upgraded across the CBRM.

Outside visual or touch pad: Where a meter was installed 5 to 20 years ago, a touch pad or direct reading device would have been wired to the outside of the building. The types of Outside Reading Devices range from a visual read, like an odometer, a black box with pins to a small black oval pad. The reader carries a meter reading probe that will interrogate the box with the pins or the small oval pad. They read the visual read directly.

Radio Transmitter: Where a meter was installed or replaced within the past 5 years, a small radio transmitter has been attached or integrated into the water meter. The reader can take reading from this transmitter by walking by the building with a handheld computer, or by driving by with a larger drive-by receive and computer.

All readings are computerized and the water billing is generated on a quarterly basis from these readings.