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Water meters

This advice applies to Scotland

This information applies to Scotland only

On this page you can find out about water meters and what you might use one for. There is also information about how to get one installed and what happens if it gets damaged. There is more information about water meters on the website of Scottish Water at  within their Code of Practice.

Public water supply

Scottish Water provides the public water supply in Scotland.

A water meter can be installed by Scottish Water to measure the amount of water you use from the mains supply. Only Scottish Water can supply the meter because it owns the pipe work that the meter will be attached to. The only point of installing a water meter is if you:

  • want to try to use less water for environmental reasons
  • think you can pay less for your water through a meter than you do with the council tax.

You should make sure that these initial costs and your expected charges for water (see below about saving money) do mean that it is worthwhile to change from paying the charge for water with the council tax. In many cases it will not be cheaper to add a meter.

Installing a water meter to the public water supply

Step one – Apply to Scottish Water

You have to write to Scottish Water to ask for a meter to be installed. Scottish Water has to assess if installing a meter would mean that your service from it still meets the correct standards. You can print out and complete an application form from the Scottish Water website at You will have to pay a survey fee straight away with your application.

Step 2 – Receive permission and organise with Scottish Water

If it agrees to your application Scottish Water can provide the water meter. You or your landlord have to organise the space for the meter and any alterations required to the place where it has to be installed. If you have to have pipe work reorganised you have to pay for it although Scottish Water or one of their agents will do the work.

Step 3 - Water meter is installed

Once it is installed the water meter is still the property of Scottish Water. You will receive a bill for the water you use every three months from Scottish Water based on the meter readings.

Costs of installing a water meter

The costs of installing a water meter could mount up from:

  • the survey fee to Scottish Water
  • joinery and plumbing to alter a part of the house to position the meter.

You should make sure that these initial costs and your expected charges for water (see below about saving money) do mean that it is worthwhile to change from paying the charge for water with the council tax.

What are the charges through a water meter

Scottish Water will send you a bill for metered water charges. The charges you get from Scottish Water are quite complicated because they may include:

  • annual fixed charge for services
  • charges for water measured by meter per cubic metre (1,000 litres) assuming 95% is returned through the sewerage system
  • property drainage and roads drainage charges.

You do not pay just for the water from the supply from Scottish Water. Your invoice will also show a sum for charges for dealing with the rainwater from both your property but also a proportion for the rainwater that runs into the sewers from your local public roads and footpaths. This proportionate cost for treating the rainwater is based on the valuation of your property from your council tax band.

Arrears for water charges through a water meter

If you have arrears for your metered water charges, Scottish Water will send you a reminder, and then a final notice. Scottish Water may take action against you to recover the debt, so you may like to sort out your debts.

Saving money by choosing a supply with a water meter

When you have a metered supply you will not get any discount or reduction that would be applied to a non-metered charge for water collected with your council tax.

Scottish Water provides information for people thinking about getting a water meter on its website at

Damage to the water meter

If you damage the water meter you (or your landlord) will have to pay for its repair or replacement. If the water meter is damaged by frost it is still you who has to pay for its replacement. You may be able to claim this cost against your home insurance or any special insurance you have with the utilities companies.

The cost of replacement may be less than the insurance premium you have to pay.

Private water supply

You may not be able to install a water meter to a private water supply. There may be physical reasons for this. You may only want a water meter to check how much water you are getting from the private source. You do not need it to assess how much you have to pay for the supply because you do not pay anything to the local authority for your water supply.

The local authority environmental health department may be able to help you to measure how much water you get from the supply.

There is more about private water supplies at

If you have a problem because you do not get enough water for the needs of your household you may need to ask Scottish Water to connect you to the mains supply.

If you rent the property you will need to ask the landlord to investigate getting you connected to the mains water supply.

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