My region is experiencing a drought and I'd like to know how much water my household is using so we can be sure that we're minimizing our water use (which is good to do even in normal conditions). However, my home is in a multiple unit development, where none of the dwellings have an individual water meter, all units get water from the central meter.
Is it possible to make or buy a clamp-on meter for home use that I could just clamp on my copper inlet pipe to give me a sense of how much water I'm using? Ideally something electronic that I could read and record automatically, but even a local display would be fine.
I've looked around a bit online and found a number of products that are oriented toward the industrial market, with prices to match (~$1000 and higher), like these:
Ultrasonic Flow Meters Ultrasonic flow meters utilize sound waves to measure the velocity of a fluid from which the volumetric flow rate can be calculated. Unlike most flow meters, ultrasonic meters do not include any moving parts and thus are more reliable, accurate and provide maintenance free operation. Since ultrasonic signals can also penetrate solid materials, the transducers can be mounted onto the outside of the pipe offering completely non-invasive measurement eliminating chemical compatibility issues, pressure restrictions, and pressure loss
I'd rather not go through the hassle and expense of having a plumber install an in-line water meter (and I'm not even sure the HOA would agree to allow me install it since the most accessible part of the water line is in a common area), so I'm looking for something that doesn't need to be permanently installed.