Reading a water meter is actually much simpler than you would think. Reading your water meter is similar to reading the odometer on your car. Read all the numbers from left to right. The reading on your water meter today is the total volume of water that has gone through the meter since it was installed. Your usage for each billing cycle is derived by subtracting the previous reading from the current reading.
The display on your meter will display consumption as small as 1/100th of a gallon. As you can see in the photo below, the reading on this meter is 0.5 gallons. This is especially handy for homeowners trying to calculate their daily water usage. A good way to do this is to write down your meter reading daily, around the same time each day is best. This will give you an accurate measurement of how much water you are using in a 24 hour period.
Please also keep in mind that we bill for water and sewer in thousand gallon increments. To simplify the billing process, we disregard the numbers that are shaded in the photo below, and only bill for every full 1,000 gallons used.
It is important to note that the meter will display a plus sign (as shown in the photo below) any time there is water moving through the meter. This can be helpful in determining whether or not you have a leak. A simple test is to verify that all fixtures are shut off in your home, and check your meter for the flow indicator. If a plus sign is present, that indicates that water is flowing through the meter, and you should also then see the numbers on the display increasing as well. At this time, knowing that water is flowing, you can begin checking fixtures for running water. In cases such as this, toilets and water softeners are the most common culprits.