How to read your water meter

Discover how to read your meter and understand your responsibilities as a property owner.

Whether you rent, own or run a business on your property, all water supplied to you is registered on your water meter. The meter provides an accurate reading of water usage at your property and ensures that you are billed correctly.

We have changed the way we read meters to protect our customers and our meter readers while coronavirus restrictions are in place across metropolitan Melbourne. If we can’t safely access your meter, we will leave a card that tells you how to provide us with a current reading. For more information, visit our coronavirus information page.


Reading your water meter

View Transcript

City West Water logo. Text on screen: How to read your water meter.

Woman (Jane) standing in kitchen. Jane: Hi. You've just received this from City West Water. A notice explaining that we were unable to obtain an actual reading from your water meter.
This is typically because we can't  get access to the meter.

Image of notice on screen.

Perhaps you locked your gate, or you have a dog in the front yard. If we can't get a meter reading, we're going to have to estimate your water bill.

Image of estimated water bill on screen.

To avoid an estimated bill that could be higher than your normal water usage, you need to provide us with a meter number and a meter reading.

Image of form with meter number and date on screen.

It's not as difficult as it sounds. Come on, and I'll show you how to read your water meter.

Jane outside kneeling next to water meter.

Your water meter is usually at the front of your property.

But don't get your water mixed up  between your gas meter or your electricity meter.

Image of gas and electricity meter on screen.

Your water meter will look like one of the following three water meters.

The elster meter.

The reliance meter.

Or the actaris meter.

Regardless of which meter you have, reading your meter is easy.

Firstly, you will need to record your meter number.

This is sometimes located above the reading.

On other meters, it is on the bottom face of the meter.

You will then need to record your water usage.

Just record the white numbers on your meter.

You don't need to record the red numbers.

For example, the numbers on this meter are 0-1-5-3-4.

This means you have used 1,534 kilolitres of water.

One kilolitre equals one thousand litres.

You can ignore the red numbers.

These are litres.

Follow the instructions on your form by emailing or phoning through your meter number and your reading to the address or number provided.

You can also find out how many kilolitres you've used since your last reading.

Take a look at your last water bill. You'll see how many kilolitres you've used. Subtract this number from your reading on your water meter. Again, ignore the red numbers. The difference is the amount of water in kilolitres you've used so far this billing cycle. If your meter is different and you are having trouble reading it or finding your meter number, call us on 131 691.

If you think your water usage it too high, you could have an undetected leak.

Watch our video on Checking your Water Meter for Leaks.

Clickable image of Check Your Water Meter for Leaks on Your Property video.

City West Water Logo. Website address:, call us on 131 691.

Is your bill higher than normal? You might have a leak!

Try our one hour leak test to find out if you have an undiscovered leak on your property.

What are my meter responsibilities?Home Owners

The Property Owner

As a property owner you are responsible for the pipe beyond the water meter leading into your property.

If there is no visible water meter, or the water meter is not situated at the front of your property, you are responsible for the pipe beyond the stop tap, which is located at the property boundary. A stop tap is the valve that controls the flow of water that enters your property. 

Please note: Where the below image references 'City West Water Responsibility', this is now Greater Western Water responsibility. 


Typical Domestic Water Service


Owners are also responsible for the maintenance and associated costs of:

  • Repairs that require a plumber inside the premise.
  • Private fire services from and including the first valve immediately after the water supply main.
  • Private extensions or trunk services up to and including the ferrule or ball valve at the connection to our water main.
  • Property services from private extensions.
  • Property service pipes with a diameter of greater than 50mm.
  • Backflow prevention including any devices and required testing (if applicable).
  • Maintenance of any approved meter pit or cage, installed to protect our water meter.

More information about your water meter responsibilities is available in our Customer Charter.


Medical worker  What are our meter responsibilities?

  Greater Western Water

At Greater Western Water we are responsible for maintaining your water meter and what is known as the property service pipe for services up to and including 50mm in diameter.

Where there is no meter, or the meter is inaccessible, we are responsible up to and including the first stop tap at your property boundary.

We also maintain water delivery through the mains around your property. If you notice a leak or burst water main report it to us on 13 44 99.



Water Meter FAQs

Who installs water meters?

A water meter may be installed at the request of Greater Western Water, the property owner or Body Corporate.

The cost of meter installation for:

  • New properties is the responsibility of the property owner. 
  • Existing properties is the responsibility of the party requesting a new meter.

In order to have a water meter installed, you must make an application to Greater Western Water and pay the appropriate fee.

Meters that are installed will be:

  • Supplied or approved by Greater Western Water.
  • Installed in accordance with conditions set by Greater Western Water.
  • Maintained by Greater Western Water at no extra cost to the customer unless the customer has damaged the meter, made the meter inaccessible or the meter has not been installed in accordance with the conditions set by Greater Western Water.
  • Owned by Greater Western Water once it has been installed.
How do you read my meter if it is not accessible (i.e behind a fence)?

As the property owner it is your responsibility to ensure that you meter is accessible at all times for reading, testing, inspection and replacement by Greater Western Water.

If there is no way for your meter to be easily accessible, we may leave a card in your mailbox asking you to provide a reading to us. Failing that, we may estimate your water use charges. Where we estimate your charges, we will make every effort to obtain an actual reading of your meter at least once every 12 months.

You may arrange for a remote meter reading device to be installed, for a fee. This will allow the meter to be read away from the meter itself, such as on the fence line of the property. We will still require occasional access to the meter for maintenance, replacement and calibration purposes.

When is my meter read?

Meter readings are taken once every three months. If you meter is not easily accessible, we will do our best to obtain a reading every three months, however we may need to estimate your water use if we cannot read the meter.

We will attempt to gain an actual reading of your water meter at least once every 12 months. We may ask you to provide a meter reading to us if we cannot get to the meter.

Need to complete a meter reading? Watch the video at the start of this page for instructions on how to read your meter.

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