How to read water meters

Metering is an important part of water management.

It allows:

  • water users to manage their water efficiently
  • water to be managed efficiently and flexibly
  • water to be shared equitably
  • an accurate record of water usage
  • improved compliance with licence volumes.

Southern Rural Water reads all meters at least twice per year (between 1 July and 30 June). We would like to remind water entitlement holders they are responsible for managing their water use and should regularly read their water meter to monitor use against their entitlement.

Waterline –

You can now check your usage and enter your own meter reads online using Waterline. Things to note when reading your meter and entering usage online:

  • always enter the meter read in megalitres (ML)
  • always enter the meter read to one decimal place only – do not round meter reads up or down.

For more information on Waterline contact us on 1300 139 510.


A meter reading 123.456 should be entered as 123.4ML; do not enter it as 123.456ML, 123ML or 124.0ML.

Maintaining access to meters

Southern Rural Water reads water meters during the summer and winter periods. Property owners are responsible for keeping their meter sites easily accessible and safe for our field officers to read. 

A safe, accessible meter site ensures we can read, maintain, or fix your meter quickly – allowing you to remain compliant with your licence conditions. 

We have powers under the Water Act 1989 (Section 133) to enter property to read meters.  

If we can’t access your meter, we may ask you to clean the area and make it safe.

Biosecurity and meter access on farms 

We want to help protect your property from pests, diseases and weeds. Please ensure your biosecurity signs have appropriate contact details or office locations so we can follow your biosecurity protocols when accessing water meters.

It is an offence to tamper with a meter. Please check with SRW before starting any works or upgrades to your meter or pump installation as changes may affect the meter selection.

  • How to help us access your meter safely

    To help us read your meter safely, please: 

    • Secure hazardous dogs or livestock. 

    • Clear vegetation and rubbish around metering sites to prevent snake or spider hazards. 

    • Clear the site area from debris such as rocks and farm equipment. 

    • Install any pipework well below ground level.  

    • Prevent ruts and uneven ground around your meter area. 

    • Provide access to locked gates or meter boxes. 

    • Maintain access tracks to stop them from being hazardous. 

    • Make access to meter sites safe where electric fences are in use. 


    Secure pumps and machinery 

    Ensure any moving parts such as belts, shafts and pulleys are isolated or protected from access with appropriate guards.  

    Bund any oil spills under pumps and ensure remote start pumps are identified at the meter. 

    Provide safe access to quarry sites 

    For water meters at quarries, we recommend you give our field officers a site induction because of the hazardous nature of these sites. This ensures our team are aware of any site-specific issues and can complete their meter reads safely and efficiently. 

    Water meter behind a shed

    Here’s an example of a clear, accessible, and safe water meter. 

  • Metering Action Plan Summary 2020

    Summary of key actions and objectives.

    In line with the State Non-Urban Water Metering Policy 2020, Southern Rural Water (SRW) has developed a Metering Action Plan (The plan) that sets out our actions in replacing the current fleet of rural water meters, with meters that are ‘pattern approved’. Pattern approval is a certification from the National Measurement Institute that states the accuracy level of the meter in various sizes.

    The objective of the plan is to ensure that all sites that fit the criteria for pattern approved meter installations are scheduled and funded within the timeframes allowed for in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) compact which was signed by Victoria in 2018. This includes installation of remote telemetry where applicable.

    The plan details how the replacement of some 1640 meters will be achieved within the 2018-2023 pricing plan, and the 2023-2028 pricing plan. No water price or cost implications are planned for or expected in the current pricing plan and all meters not replaced before June 30 2023 will be subject to funding in the next 5 year pricing plan period.

    SRW has a total fleet of around 5,000 surface water and groundwater meters across the southern third of Victoria. Most are mechanical paddle wheel or propellor meters and their age is up to 20 years old. Most pattern approved meters are electronic and contain no internal moving parts. They are highly accurate and have the ability for customers to wire direct to the meter for information access if desired.

    After careful analysis of the resource area using a risk-based approach, SRW has established that around 40% of the groundwater and surface water meter fleet will require upgrading to pattern approved meters.

    To replace 1640 meters SRW will embark on a program where the highest resource risk is evident so that maximum value can be achieved from the earliest point in time. The first areas for replacement are:

    • Mitchell River
    • Latrobe River
    • Sale & Rosedale Groundwater
    • Yarram, Giffard & Denison Groundwater and
    • Bungaree groundwater.

    Remote meter reading telemetry is also part of the obligation of the MDB compact, and SRW are already well into a program of installing remote meter reading telemetry to much of our meter fleet. This program is well advanced, already funded in the current water pricing path and will be completed in the 2022-23 financial year.

    Southern Rural Water is currently modernising the three irrigation districts that we manage in Werribee, Bacchus Marsh and Macalister. New infrastructure is being installed to deliver water in the districts along with (where possible) new meters. Pattern Approved meters are not yet available for open channel low gravity conditions, therefore appropriate state of the art meters are being installed. Pipeline and closed conduit channel situations are receiving pattern approved meters in all districts.

    Southern Rural Water has a number of remnant Dethridge meter outlets in open channels and most of these have been grandfathered until a low-cost accurate meter can be sourced.

    An updated Metering Action Plan will be submitted to the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action as the modernisation of the three districts nears completion.