Water metering and measurement

Measurement is an essential tool in water resource management and provides information about how much water licensees are taking in a particular area.
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Under our policy on water metering and measurement, licensees are required to measure, record and report their water take to us. Measurement of water taking can be done using meters or through a range of other methods, including water level gauges in dams.

As a licensee, measuring the water you take helps:

  • you understand your water usage to make the most of your entitlements and reduce your overall costs
  • us understand how much water is being used and the impact of licensed abstraction on our important water resources
  • us to make informed decisions about fair and sustainable access to our water resources
  • you as the licensee to determine your water use and effectiveness of your water saving measures.

For more information please contact our regional offices. If you are in the South West region, please contact the Bunbury office.

How to measure the water you take


Metering is the simplest means of measurement for most situations for the take of groundwater and of surface water pumped directly (through a pipe) from watercourses.

Alternative methods

Alternate measurement methods are more likely to be applied for licensed water take from in-stream dams (where metering is not practical) and in situations where the licensed water take requires more comprehensive monitoring (other than just metering) to ensure effective management of the water resource.

Alternate measurement methods for surface water may include requirements to undertake dam surveys, install staff gauges, monitor water levels and provide information to us associated with these activities.

Benefits for you measuring the water you take

Measuring the water you take helps you to:

Understand your water usage

Metering the water you take helps you understand your water usage to make the most of your entitlements and reduce your overall costs

You may be surprised to learn that measuring your water use has many benefits for you as a licensee, as well as providing important information to us for water management and planning. Water meters are ideal for determining exactly how much water you pump on a regular basis and the rate you are pumping it.

Keeping an eye on meter readings can also help you keep track of how much of your annual entitlement you have used.

Better manage your irrigation system

Knowing the numbers will help you figure out the efficiency of your operation and exactly how much water your crops are receiving during each irrigation cycle. It eliminates any guesswork and clearly indicates if you are getting the correct flow out of your pumps.

Water meters can also be used to test your irrigation system’s efficiency by giving you the tools for accurate flow rate analysis. This can help you determine if your pump is delivering the amount of water it was designed to deliver, or if it’s experiencing any problems that are causing increased energy costs and water usage.

Regulate your fertiliser application

A less obvious benefit of metering is the ability to precisely regulate your fertiliser application, through a process known as ‘fertigation’. By applying fertiliser more accurately you can improve plant root growth and overall health, and also reduce your total fertiliser usage. These savings in fertiliser and in pumping costs ultimately mean more money for you and your business.

Trade or lease the water you have saved

By increasing your water use efficiency, you may find you can use less water than your allocated entitlement, and you may be able to trade or lease the water you have saved. If you wish to trade or lease part or all of your entitlement, you must meter your water use.

You can submit your meter readings via our online licensing facility Water Online.

How we use your meter readings

Metering the water you take helps us make informed decisions about fair and sustainable access to our water resources.

The data obtained from meter readings is also used by us to undertake a number of specialised water resource management and planning activities.

As part of assessing allocation limits for a water resource, we often create computer models of the resource. Data from meter readings is used in calibrating these models, and also to help create more realistic model scenarios to forecast future trends in the water resource.

We carry out water accounting activities every year, and meter data is an important input into this process.

Metering the water you take also helps us understand how much water is being used and the impact on our important water resources.

Meter readings are used to check compliance with annual licensed entitlements, and where over-use is detected, the department will generally work with you to help you meet your licence conditions.

How to read your water meter

If you hold a licence or permit to take water, you are required to install an approved water meter and report readings to us.

How to read your meter

Take a reading at the same time each month.

To find out much has been used in a month, subtract the previous month's reading from the current reading.

To find out how much of the annual allocation you have left, subtract the current reading from the first reading for the water year and subtract this from the amount you have been allocated.

Read more in our fact sheet about reading a water meter.

Submit your meter readings

Meter readings must be submitted via the Water Online metering portal, unless otherwise approved by us.

To enable the online submission of meter readings, meters must first be registered in the metering portal against the relevant water licence by entering some key meter installation details.

Find out more about managing your meter data online.

If you have been approved to submit your meter readings via a Meter Water Use Card, please download the form for your region.

Water metering regulations

Requirements for metering water use are set out under the Rights in Water and Irrigation Regulations 2000.

The regulations set out requirements for:

  • installing and maintaining meters
  • providing meter details and regular meter readings to us.

You can read more in our fact sheets and other information below.

Contact us immediately in these circumstances

  • You think you may not be able to fit a meter within the timeframe specified (notify us before the installation deadline).
  • You are unable to read your meter or report the meter readings by the due date, for any reason.
  • You think your meter may not be accurately recording water use. For example, if the meter is not registering water flow when the pump is switched on, or if water use is higher or lower than expected.
  • A meter is damaged, or if for any reason you think that your meter may have malfunctioned (within 7 days).
  • A meter must be removed for maintenance or repair or any other reason.
  • A meter is replaced for any reason.
  • You plan to drill new wells, construct new dams or alter existing infrastructure, as you may need to apply for a licence or permit to do this.