About Your Water Meter

Meters are the property of Charleston Water System (CWS). They measure how much water flows from CWS's public water system into a customer's private plumbing system.

Water meters measure customers' water use in cubic feet. As water passes through the meter, the hand on the meter dial rotates clockwise. Each time it makes a complete rotation, the register will increase by one, indicating that one hundred cubic feet (equal to 748 gallons) of water has been used.
Reading Your Meter
Charleston Water System reads your meter once every 28 - 31 days. It is important to make sure your meter is accessible by keeping it free of obstacles such as debris or unfriendly dogs.

If for some reason we are unable to get a meter reading, we will estimate your usage based on your usage history. Then we will make any necessary adjustments after the next meter reading.

Water Meter
Water-Filled Meter Boxes
Because of the high groundwater table in the Lowcountry, it is normal for water meter boxes to fill with water. For meters that are read manually, our meter readers carry pumps to pump out the water so they can clearly see the meter reading.
Water Filled Meter Box
Automated Meter Reading (AMR)
About half of Charleston Water System customers have meters equipped with automated meter reading (AMR) technology. AMR meters have a flat disk on top of the meter box that transmits the meter's reading via radio signal.

Our meter readers have laptop computers that pick up the signal when they drive by. These meters can still be read manually by removing the lid of the meter box and reading the dial.

7,000 North Charleston Customers Getting New Automated Water Meters
February 2016

Keep Your Water Meter Visible and Accessible
It’s important for water meters to be visible and accessible—not only for gathering monthly readings, but also for making repairs and shutting your water off in the event of an emergency.

  • Check your meter periodically for accessibility.
  • Trim nearby bushes.
  • Don’t cover your meter with pine straw or mulch.
  • Don’t plant bushes or other large plants near your meter.