Separate Metering Code Guide

In January 2021, City Council approved an update to Portland City Code Title 21, which included updates to the water metering policy. Beginning July 1, 2021, the bureau has new requirements and new cost structures for installing water meters.  

These policy updates are designed to create a cost-effective pathway for installing separate water meters. This will allow more water users access to financial assistance programs, provide tenants more control over their sewer, water, and stormwater uses and cost, help property owners and managers know where water leaks are, and conserve water. The updates are reflected in the fiscal year (FY) 2021–22 Annual Rate Ordinance, which includes System Development Charges and meter installation costs. 

The new Code includes:  

  • Clarification on when “header services,” when two or more metered services are tapped off a single service pipe, may be used. Using header services lowers the installation cost of separate meters. This is reflected in the FY 2021–22 Annual Rate Ordinance

  • An update to SDCs when installing separate meters on header services. With the new Code, SDCs for separate meters installed on a header service assembly are based on the equivalent shared meter size that would be required for the development. For example, if you install two 5/8″ meters and one 1″ meter on the same property at the same time using a header service, we charge you the same SDC as a single 1.5″ meter. This “meter equivalent” is a key concept of the updated Title 21 and is reflected in the FY 2021–22 Annual Rate Ordinance.  

  • An update to meter installation costs to reflect that the cost to install up to six separate meters on a header service is equivalent to the cost to install one shared meter. 

  • Two new requirements for separate metering of mixed-use buildings and non-residential commercial irrigation uses. 

The bureau has drafted the Separate Water Meter Code Guide to answer questions and provide examples of how the new policy will be implemented.