Water Meters

Water meters record water usage, and sewer usage is calculated based upon that water usage. Charges for all services are billed to the account holder on a monthly basis. Water meters are usually located in the basement or a utility room. Dubuque City Code requires that “all meters shall be installed horizontally between one foot (1’) and four feet (4’) above the basement floor. The City of Dubuque takes care of all maintenance. Property owners are responsible for protecting their meter from freezing temperatures and ensuring it is kept clean, dry, and is readily accessible at all times.

Water Meter Purchase & Installation

Water meters must be installed by a licensed plumber. Meters are purchased and connection and tapping fees are paid at the Water Distribution office located at the Municipal Services Center. Prior to purchasing a water meter, a plumbing permit must be obtained from the Building Services Department at City Hall.

In order for us to better serve you, we ask that you provide at least 24-hours notice before purchasing a meter or connecting to City water. Please call 563.589.4291 or email metertap@cityofdubuque.org

Water Meter Repair

If your water meter is leaking or does not seem to be operating properly, call the Water Distribution Office at 563.589.4304.


Automatic Metering System

Dubuque’s system includes automatic meter reading technology that eliminates the need to manually read the meter, prevents recording errors, minimizes wear and tear on vehicles, and allows quicker detection of water line leaks.

Meter Interface Unit

Each of Dubuque’s water meters is connected to a Meter Interface Unit (MIU), a small gray box installed on the exterior of your property. The MIU transmits a radio signal to a data collector which relays information to the City’s Utility Billing Office. MIUs should NOT be painted or covered. Painting or covering the unit prevents the City from easily accessing the label that is unique to each MIU.

If a water meter, wire, or meter interface unit needs to be relocated or detached from your home or business during repairs or renovations such as painting or re-siding, please contact the Water Distribution Office at 563.589.4304 and a staff person will disconnect and reconnect it free of charge. Tampering with or damaging any part of the meter reading system may result in a $50 fine plus repair costs and a service fee.

Water Usage

A free water management tool and online payment portal, WaterSmart, is available to City of Dubuque water customers. Through the WaterSmart portal, customers can view detailed information on household water usage, compare their household water usage with similar households in the area, pay their bill, check for water leaks, sign up to receive alerts, and more. For questions about WaterSmart, contact the Utility Billing Department at 563.589.4144.

How To Manually Read Your Meter

Your water meter has a digital display and can be read manually. Simply shine a light on the meter to activate the LCD display. It will show a meter reading and then, after six seconds, it will show the rate of flow.  A flashing faucet icon on the display represents an intermittent leak.  A constant faucet icon represents a constant leak. See figure for icon definitions.

Meter displayWater meter