How to read your smart water meter

...if it looks like this:

Image of a smart water meter showing digital meter reading display

  1. Locate your smart water meter - it is usually in a water meter box in the ground (or sometimes just above ground) at the front boundary of your property.

  2. Lift the lid on the top of the meter - the screen will turn on with sufficient light.

  3. If there is insufficient light, use a torch. The meter has an integrated sensor that will activate the display when sufficient light is detected.

  4. If the display does not turn on with ample light, your meter may be faulty or the light sensor may be obstructed by dust and dirt. Wipe the face of the meter with a dry cloth, and if it still does not work, please contact us.

  5. The smart meter's digital display (shown below) shows the total amount of water used on your property since the date the meter was installed.  This is shown in kilolitres (kL) to 5 decimal places (1kL = 1000 litres). For example, the meter reading shown below is 91.56881 kilolitres or 91,568.81 litres.

  6. Don’t forget to close the lid before you walk away to help keep the screen free from dust and dirt.

Smart water meter digital display image showing meter reading and light sensor


...OR like one of these:

Images of two types of smart water loggers on top of existing mechanical meters


  1. Locate your smart water meter - it is usually in a water meter box in the ground (or sometimes just above ground) at the front boundary of your property.

  2. You have a smart water meter logger, so your meter reading is found on your mechanical water meter, which sits under the logger, as shown above. 

  3. This meter reading (shown below) is the total amount of water used on your property since the date your mechanical water meter was installed.  The black numbers or dials are kilolitres (kL) and the red numbers or dials are litres (1 kL - 1000 litres). For example, the meter reading shown below is 989.922 kilolitres or 989,922 litres.


Find out more about water efficiency.

Watch our 'How to read your meter' video below.


Image of a mechanical water meter reading display showing kilolitres and litres




Watch video: How to read your smart water meter (if it has a blue lid)

Watch video: How to read your mechanical meter (if it has a logger)

Smart meter FAQs

About the technology:

Like your current mechanical water meter, a smart water meter counts the volume of water used on your property as the water flows through it. Unlike the mechanical meter, a smart water meter also records the meter reading every 15 minutes and transmits this data to Unitywater daily via a digital communication network.

We’ll be installing two different smart meter devices in your area:

  • smart water meter loggers, which sit on top of your existing mechanical meter
  • smart water meters that totally replace your existing mechanical meter.

We are testing a number of different models to determine which are the best for Unitywater customers and our business.

Smart water meters and loggers are powered by a battery that normally lasts between 10 and 16 years, so data transmission can continue in the event of a power outage. If there is a failure of the device, alerts are set up so that Unitywater will be notified automatically. 

Smart water meters and loggers are currently in use in Mackay and Wide Bay, Queensland, in other states of Australia and in many overseas countries. We have also trialed similar smart water meter technology in Noosa and Clontarf. Read more about our previous digital meter trial.

Most of our customers in our smart water meter network will receive one of the devices shown below:

  • a smart water meter logger, which sits on top of your existing mechanical water meter, or
  • a smart water meter that totally replaces the existing mechanical water meter and has a digital meter reading display.

These different types of smart water meters all transmit the same type of water usage information and offer the same benefits.

Digital Logger Smart Meter

Integrated Smart Meter

Benefits and costs to you:

While your existing mechanical water meter is read by a meter reader four times a year, a smart water meter captures your water meter readings frequently throughout each day (every 15 minutes), and transmits this data to Unitywater on a daily basis.

In the future, this extra data will give you a more detailed understanding of your water usage patterns and help you notice any significant or unusual changes. It will also be used to alert you to water leaks on your property (e.g. dripping taps, running toilets, broken pipes), especially concealed leaks that are hidden underground, in walls or other parts of your property.

Smart water meters will also help us to identify leaks in our Unitywater infrastructure and improve the operational efficiency of our wider water supply network, so we can keep our customers and community safe and healthy, and keep customer bills as low as possible.

There will be no cost to you. Unitywater will cover the cost of all smart water meter installations and any ongoing maintenance costs.

While there is an initial cost to Unitywater to install the smart water meters, the longer-term benefits from this rollout will far outweigh this initial expenditure. This is also a key part of our commitment to keeping our customers’ bill as low as possible.

For example, every year, Unitywater and our customers lose water through leaks, which can go undetected for long periods of time, resulting in large bills for our customers and our business. Smart water meters will enable us to identify and repair leaks much sooner and minimise these costs for everyone.

What happens during and after installation:

For customers who are getting smart water meter logger installed on top of their existing water meter, there will be no water outage, as there is no need to turn off the water for this type of installation.

For customers who are getting a smart water meter to replace their existing meter, there will be a short water outage at their property, usually for less than 15 minutes.

If your water is going to be turned off, we’ll put a notice in your letterbox at least three days beforehand. Our contractor who is installing the smart water meter at your property will also knock on your door or ring the bell when they arrive to see if you are home and let you know when your water will be turned off.

If you have any concerns about your water being turned off, please use the contact details on the notification card or contact us.

No, the installation of your smart water meter will not change the way we bill you. The information from your smart water meter will only be used for testing and will not be used to calculate the charges on your bill. We will continue to read your mechanical water meter every quarter and this reading will be used to calculate the charges on your water and sewerage bill.

Your data, privacy and safety:

We’re rolling out close to 10,000 smart water meters in 2021 to test this technology before delivering the benefits to our customers. During this time, you won’t be able to access any of your water usage data from the smart water meter or logger.

We’ll keep you informed about this process and undertake research to understand how you want to receive and use this data before we provide it to you.

This may seem like a long process, but we’re taking time to get it right and ensure we understand exactly how our customers want to use smart water meter information before we deliver it to you.

After your smart water meter is installed, you will still be able see the water meter readings on the face of the water meter, so you can still take regular meter readings and use our handy online tool My Usage Tracker to keep an eye on your water usage between bills.

My Usage Tracker is available to online in My Account

No personal data is transmitted from your smart water meter. The data that is transmitted only includes the smart water meter serial number, timestamp and meter reading (i.e. total amount of water used in kilolitres). No personal information, such as your name or property address, is included in the transmission.

Any data that Unitywater receives from a smart water meter or logger with be treated in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Australian data security requirements.

Smart water meter data is transmitted as an encrypted radio signal.

Every batch of smart water meter devices that enters Australia is subject to very strict testing by Australian Government authorities to ensure it complies with relevant Australian Standards. 

The energy emitted from modern smart water meters is just a tiny fraction of the energy from a normal mobile phone or a digital electricity meter - in fact, it’s only as much as one click of an automatic garage door.

Smart water meters have been in place in many locations around Australia and the world for some years now, and there are no known health issues associated with their use.

We will continue to read your existing water meter every quarter and if we suspect high water usage or a possible leak at your property, we will continue to alert you to this in the same way as we currently do for all our customers, which is usually by email or a letter to the property owner.

In the future, we will use data from the smart water meters and loggers to alert our customers to possible leaks on their properties earlier to help them avoid high bills. But first we need to check this data is consistent with the water usage data from your existing mechanical meter.

While we will do what we can to let you know about suspected leaks, it is the property owner’s responsibility to find and repair any leaks on their property and to pay for any excess water usage that is caused by the leak. We recommend you check for leaks regularly between bills - you can find an easy step-by-step guide on our website.

Why we chose your property:

To thoroughly assess the capabilities and benefits of the smart water meter network, we need to test it with a variety of our customers and property types. We have therefore selected geographical areas across Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Alexandra Headlands, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Kuluin, Kenilworth and Nambour, as these areas represent a broad cross-section of our customers.

 All customers in the selected geographical areas will have either a smart water meter or logger installed at their property. This will enable us to fully test and realise the benefits of a complete smart water meter network. We also want to ensure that not only the customers living at these properties now, but the wider community and customers in future will have access to the benefits that the smart water network will provide. For this reason, we’re not giving our customers the option to opt-out of having a smart water meter or logger installed at their property.