Reading water meters activity guide and worksheet

Unit 8: Our Water
Reading water
activity guide and
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Unit 8: Our Water Footprints
Reading water meters activity guide and worksheet
Estimated duration: 30-50 minutes
To understand the water metering process
To calculate average daily water consumption rates at home or school
By the end of this class, students will be able to:
 use practical and numerical skills in reading water meters
 use numerical skills in calculating average daily consumption rates
 make inferences, draw conclusions and make recommendations based on the
daily averages
Student Worksheet: Reading Water Meters
A water meter students can look at, if possible
Activity Description
This activity will be best if you can show students a water meter. Try to find where
the water meters are at the school or college and take them to it.
1. Ask students what the units of measurement are for volume, for example when
they are buying drinks. It is also interesting to show them how 1 litre is equivalent to
1 cubic decimetre (that is a cube of 10cm x 10cm x 10cm).
2. Ask them if they know what the prefix “kilo” stands for, as in kilometre.
3. Hand out the worksheet. There are a number of examples of water meter readings
on it. Ask students to read the figures and convert them into kilolitres (kL) and litres
4. Students may need help with the interpretive questions. The water consumption
is higher than the recommended amount. It may be higher on Saturday for various
reasons. It may be household washing day, people may play sport all day and need
additional showers before going out or it may be the only day that it is possible to
water the garden. Students are then asked to make recommendations to reduce
consumption. For example, is it really necessary to have two showers? Could they be
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shorter? Is the washing machine water setting appropriate for the size of the load?
Could more use be made of grey water to water the garden?
5. Have students find a water meter they can check regularly over a period of at least
a couple of days. Get students to record the figures, and then answer the questions
in the worksheet about this.
Student Roles and Responsibilities
Participate in agreed tasks
Contribute to class discussions
Complete activities and worksheets
Work cooperatively with others
Participate in survey and collect data
Identify other sources of information
Seek teacher assistance and support when needed
Level of Teacher Support
Facilitate discussion
Organise materials and equipment
Provide encouragement
Introduce tasks and activities
Provide assistance when requested
Teach or reinforce statistical or graphical skills and understanding
Provide examples of mind maps to assist brainstorming
Advise on how to identify sources of information
Remind students about timelines and commitments
To use these learning activities as assessment tasks, collect evidence such as:
Teacher checklist and observation
Student research notes and report
Copies of student materials and worksheets
Student notes
Teacher checklist for class discussions
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Unit 8: Our Water Footprints
Reading water meters worksheet
Every house has a water meter that records the water
being consumed in litres (L). The school or educational
institution you are in has one too. They are usually found
somewhere in the front garden. Each three months
someone from the local water company reads your meter
to find out how many litres you have used and then issues
you with a bill. They also issue you with standard changes
for other services like the sewage.
To read your water meter, start from left to right. For
example, the figures in the diagram to the left and the
example below read 23,412L. The figures in black are the
number of kilolitres (kL). 1000L = 1 kL. The three numbers
in red are the number of litres. (Sometimes there is also a
fourth number in red, which represents 10ths of a litre.
E.g If this read 234125 it would be 23,412L and five tenths
of a litre, i.e. 23,412 and a half litres = 23,412.5L.)
The meter reader takes an estimate of your water
Example. This meter reads 23,412L
or 23.412
by recording
the figures in black.
3 4
1 2
Write the litres and kL for each of the following meter readings:
1 0
2 8
9 7
3 0
You can check your daily use by comparing the figures at the same time each day.
For example, if you reading was 61,734L on Saturday 10am and 62,654L on Sunday
10am you could calculate the daily use
62,654 – 61,734 = 920L. How many 9L buckets is that?
You can estimate the approximate consumption per person by dividing the total
volume consumed by the number of people in the house. If there are four people
living in the house, 920/4 = 230L per person. A figure of 230L per day is well above
the government target of 155L per day.
Q. What reasons can you think of to explain the high consumption on that day?
(Clue: Saturday).
Q. How could you use the meter to prove there was a water leak in the pipes?
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Unit 8: Our Water Footprints
Reading water meters worksheet, p.2
Activity: Chart the daily consumption of water at home or school
1. Find the water meter and check that you can read the numbers.
2. Decide on a time each day that you can measure the water meter. Try to
build it into your routine. For example, on your way to school each day
(home) or just before recess or lunch (school).
3. Record the figures in a table. You can use this one or design your own.
Meter Reading
Consumption (L)
(e.g. Day 2 – Day 1)
Total Daily Consumption
You can calculate an average daily use by adding the total consumption and then
dividing by the number of days.
For example, if you used a total of 7000L over a 10 day period, that would be an
average of 700L per day. 7000/10 = 700L/day.
Q. Calculate the average consumption for that house if 4 people lived there. How
are the people in that house doing relative to the 155L per day recommendation?
Q. What if it was a 2 person household? What recommendations could you give
them to help them get on track?
Option: Create a line graph or bar graph to represent your daily water
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