Water Service & Meters

Ownership Of The Water Meter
The water meter is owned and maintained by the Water Department. Only Water Department personnel may turn the water on and off on the street side of the meter.

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The pipe that runs from the meter to your home belongs to you, the customer, and is your responsibility. Most homes have a main valve, also called a "house valve." If you need to shut off water to your entire home for plumbing repairs, you should use the house valve or, if one has been installed, the gate valve on the property side of the meter (see diagram below). Do not turn the valve on the street side of the meter as you will be liable for any damage caused to city equipment.

If you need to have the water turned off at the meter for any reason, call the utility billing office at 408-779-7221 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. and a service person will be dispatched at no charge. Service requests after 3 p.m. and during weekends and holidays will receive a service charge.

Fire protection service meters are to remain on at all times. Only city personnel are authorized to operate fire protection equipment.
How To Read Your Water Meter
One of your best conservation tools is your water meter. It is normally located at your front curb, housed in a concrete box. Reading the meter is similar to reading a car odometer. The meter measures volume of water in cubic feet. The 1st digit on the right represents 1 cubic foot, the 2nd from the right represents 10 cubic feet, the 3rd from the right represents 100 cubic feet, and so forth. The sweep hand registers fractions of a cubic foot. One cubic foot is equal to 7.48 gallons of water.
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Your water bill is based on how many hundred cubic feet you use over a 1 month billing period. One hundred cubic feet (also referred to as a billing "unit" or "ccf") equals 748 gallons.

Calculating Your Water Use
To find out how much water you've used in any given period, write down the meter reading to the nearest cubic foot and the date. Read the meter again later. Subtracting the previous reading from the current reading gives your household water use in cubic feet. Multiply this figure by 7.48 and divide by the number of days to calculate usage in gallons per day.

How to Check for Leaks
It's good preventive maintenance to conduct a leak check of your house periodically.
  • Start by firmly turning off all water devices inside and outside the house.
  • Next, go outside to the meter and mark down the reading, including the sweep hand.
  • Wait 15 minutes and then check the meter again. If the meter has not moved, your house is leak free. If the meter has moved, you have a leak to hunt down. The most likely cause is a leaking toilet. Most meters also have a triangular low-flow indicator, which should not be spinning unless a leak is present.
To avoid receiving a surprisingly high water bill caused by an undetected leak, we suggest you check your meter regularly.

Water Shutdowns
When a water main needs to be shut down for repair, a concerted effort is made to ensure that all customers affected receive an advance tag or letter notifying them of the date and anticipated duration of the shutdown.
There are times, however, when customers cannot be notified:
  • During emergency situation
  • When a contractor changes the date or time of the shutdown after customers have been tagged and there is insufficient time to re-tag everyone
  • When the shutdown proves to be more difficult and takes longer than anticipated
  • When the shutdown area has to be extended
We recognize the difficulty for customers in those cases, and ask that you call the Public Works Department at 408-776-7333 if you have questions.
If a main is shut down in your neighborhood, leave plumbing fixtures and appliances off until pressure in the main is restored. Sudden pressure changes can damage household plumbing fixtures. Test for restored pressure by slowly opening an outside faucet. If your water appears discolored or contains sediment after pressure is restored, turn on your outside faucets and flush water through the pipes until it has cleared.