CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad Municipal Water District has just increased its efficiency by replacing customers’ water meters.
The newly installed automated meters allow staff to read the meters from a distance, which cuts down on reading time.
Instead of having to go door-to-door, officials can read the meters by driving around the city and collecting the data from each meter using wireless technology, according to the city’s Community Relations manager Kristina Ray.
The district has more than 29,000 meters to read and it took 329 staff hours to read them all. The new meters cut down reading time by 83 percent to 55 hours.
The meter signals have a range of a half-mile, which is why staffers can do a driving route, instead of the traditional door-to-door method.
The installation also cost less than what was originally estimated.
“When we started this project in 2008, it was expected to take 15 years and cost $15 million to replace every meter,” said Mario Remillard, the project’s manager. “In 2012, new technology became available that allowed us to cut nine years from the project and reduce the cost by $9.6 million, so we’ve finished the project much more quickly and saved money doing it.”
Ray said the final cost was $6 million.
The meters also track water usage. This allows staff to tell customers what time of day their water usage spikes.
“One advantage of this new system is if a customer calls with questions about increased water usage, we can call up the data and help solve the problem right then and there,” Remillard said. “We can tell them how much water they’re using day to day, and sometimes hour to hour. And we can visit them at their house and show them their usage history over a laptop.”
The new meters give district staff a better picture of regional water usage and allow staff to compare wholesale purchases with total consumption by customers, said Ray.
In doing to, staff can track down leaks and repair them.