With increased affluence and urbanisation a reliable water supply is regarded as a basic right of urban people in many countries. This has resulted in a paradigm shift in community attitudes to water, and governments increasingly encourage citizens to rethink attitudes to water use as one 'tool' to reduce demand. While a range of 'tools' are used to encourage water availability (dams, recycling, desalination, water efficiency), in urban centres conservation remains heavily reliant on water restrictions to deliver short-term reductions. To stimulate debate around further reduction in demand for potable reticulated water we propose the concept of 'water metres' (the distance water is transported from its point of capture to consumption). The concept parallels 'food miles'. We argue that the introduction of this concept will encourage greater on-site water capture for on-site use, and provide commensurate reductions in demand for potable water from bulk supplies for non-potable suburban use.