Switching to a Water Meter

You could make a saving on your water charges by switching to a water meter especially if only one or two people live in your property. Savings can be made on both the fresh water and waste water charges. The amount saved depends on the amount of water used. As a rough guide, we would suggest a person uses 50 cubic metres of water per year. To calculate how much water you use, or to find out more information about how much water household appliances use please refer to the section below titled “How much water do I use”, or use the “water calculator” at the bottom of this page.

The table below shows you how much fresh water and waste water charges would be on a meter, depending on whether your household is a low, average or above average water user. The table below can be used to compare your current bills against the charges detailed below to see if savings can be made.

How much water do I use?

This table shows the estimated consumption of water for various functions in the home.

Basic Use - cooking - drinking, personal hygiene (excluding bathing) 20 litres per person per day
Bath80 litres per bath
Shower35 litres per shower
Toilet Flushing9 litres per flush
Automatic Washing Machine55 litres per wash
Dishwasher15 litres per wash
Hosepipe600 litres per hour


We do offer tips on how to save water in the home and garden. For more information about this please select “follow our water saving tips” at the bottom of this page. We also offer some free water saving devices which you can order my selecting “order your free pack of water saving devices” which is also at the bottom of the page.

How do I request a water meter and what does it involve?

To request a water meter please select apply for a domestic water meter at the bottom of this section. Once we have received your application we will aim to install the water meter within 30 days of the request being made.

We initially complete a survey, which we do not need you to be present for, to check your property is on an individual supply, and assess if we need to replace the external stopcock to a newer type. If during this visit we are not able complete our assessment we will send you a letter asking you to call us and make an appointment.

The external stopcock belongs to Portsmouth Water and therefore the replacement of this does not cost you anything. If this work is required you may notice a blue spray on the pavement which highlights to the team completing the work, which stopcock needs replacing. Once this work is complete a meter will be installed externally. If we do not need to replace the external stopcock then it is likely an external meter will be fitted during our first visit.

We automatically update your Portsmouth Water billing account and send a letter to you which will provide further account information. We also inform your waste water company of the change in how your water charges are calculated so they can update their records as well.

Apply for a Domestic Water Meter
Can I change my mind?

Yes. Customers who request a water meter have up to 24 months, or four 6 monthly bills as a trial period. At any point during this period you can contact us and request we change your charges back to the previous charging basis. We will again inform your waste water company of this change in how your water charges are calculated.

We will change your charges back from the date of the meter reading. This may be a meter reading we have recently taken, a reading you provide, or we may need to read the meter again if it has not been recently read.

Please note, no alterations will be made to previous measured charges we have billed. Furthermore, we can only accept this request from the individual who originally requested the meter be installed.

How often is the meter read?

We read the meter every 6 months and then pass these readings to your waste water company. They will normally base their charges for wastewater on 92.5% of the consumption recorded by the meter.

We may at times have to estimate your meter reading. This will be calculated based on the amount of consumption previously recorded on the water meter, or on the average amount of usage for the meter size. This usually happens if we are unable to gain access to read the meter, or in the event of flooding or snow fall.

Does my billing frequency change?

Yes. Currently we send you an annual bill and you have various options available as to how you can pay. For customers who are billed on a water meter we will send you a bill every 6 months when we have read the water meter, and you have the same payment options available to you.

If you currently pay by monthly direct debit we will change the amount you pay to reflect your new charging basis, and the payments will be over a continuous 12 months rather than 8.

Can I read the water meter?

The meter is placed in a box with the Company's stopcock which is normally either in the pavement or property driveway. Open the cover carefully with the tip of a screwdriver. The number display is similar to gas or electricity meters. The black digits record the consumption in cubic metres. Read from left to right to obtain the current reading. You should ignore any red figures. The Meter below is showing a reading of 0.

We will be happy to show you how to read your meter, if required.

If you have difficulty in reading the meter, or if the lid for the meter is too heavy to lift, we can arrange to read the meter and advise you of the reading. Please contact us by email or phone if this is of interest to you.

What if I think the meter is reading incorrectly?

If you are able to check the meter readings and provide us with a correct reading your account will be updated and a revised bill sent. We can also visit to check the meter reading for you.

If you are concerned the meter may not be recording the correct amount of water consumption you can contact us to request that the meter be tested. If the meter is found to be faulty, we will pay for the test, install a new meter and adjust your bill. If the meter is found to be operating within the allowable tolerances, we will charge you for the test. If you prefer, you may contact the Trading Standards Office and request that they carry out an independent test.

What about if the meter records a higher amount of consumption than I would expect?

The Company's responsibility for pipework normally ends at the property boundary. Any pipes and fittings on your side of the boundary are your responsibility to maintain and it is advisable to keep these in a good state of repair.

We will carry out a test for leakage when the meter is installed and will advise you if there is a leak on your service pipe. We will currently repair up to two underground leaks free of charge to domestic customers provided the pipework is accessible and not under buildings or ornamental driveways.

There may be no visible signs of a leak above ground. For that reason, we strongly recommend that you read the meter at frequent intervals in order that you can quickly identify any unexpected increase in usage. If you notice an increase in the amount of consumption the first thing to check, at a point when no water is being used in the property, is the dials on the meter to see if they are moving. If they are this indicates water is going through the meter and there may be a leak. The next step to take is to turn off your internal stopcock and check the meter again. If the meter dials have stopped spinning this indicates you may have a leak inside the property. If the dials continue to spin this indicates there is a leak on your supply pipe. If you notice an unexpected increase in consumption we are more than happy to complete the above tests for you, or if you have identified where the leak is we can we advise you of the next steps.

Depending on where the leak is we may be able to adjust your water bill. On the first occurrence of a leak on your supply pipe, your charges will be reassessed on the basis of past normal consumption, provided you have the leak repaired quickly. Any subsequent leak would not be entitled to an allowance.

Please click here to view our Leakage Code of Practice

Metal Water Service Pipes

Please read this note carefully if you are considering having an external meter installed which requires excavation and have metal incoming service pipes. The manner in which we install the meter involves inserting plastic pipe into the line.

It is not acceptable to rely on the incoming water pipe as an earthing point for electrical apparatus. It might even be dangerous, particularly if alterations or repairs have been carried out on the water service pipe or on mains in the vicinity. The Wiring Regulations have prohibited the use of metal pipes for earthing since 1966 and we are generally unaware of whether individual connections have been made. For many years prior to this though it was common practice for earthing connections to be made to incoming metal pipes. However you should be aware that new and replacement pipes are not made from metal and are not capable of providing an earth.

Electrical appliances in all modern houses and houses where wiring has been replaced, are connected to an earth point at the electricity meter. Also bonded together and connected to this earth point are the metal casing of boilers, cookers, storage heaters etc. and even the gas and central heating pipes. All this is to provide protection against electric shock in the event of an electrical fault developing.

If an earthing point is available at your meter you are strongly advised to use it. You can find out if you have an earthing point by contacting your electricity company or a competent electrician. They will be able to inspect your property and advise on any work necessary to bring the earthing arrangements in your property to the standard required by present regulations.

Correct earthing and bonding is vital for the electrical safety of your house and you should ensure that it is effective without relying on the incoming metal service pipe.

We are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information or advice.

Please click here for our contact details