The Coast News Group

Rainbow water district unveils new monitoring program

REGION — A new water efficiency program is being touted as the latest way for ratepayers to monitor their monthly water usage.

The Rainbow Municipal Water District board of directors’ latest program gives customers access to minute-by-minute water usage data with a smart water monitoring system.

Using the FlumePRO Smart Water System, eligible water customers in Rainbow, Bonsall, Pala and parts of Vista, Oceanside and Fallbrook, can monitor their usage through an online app.

The district is the first utility in San Diego County to implement the new technology.

“Our Board of Directors has made accurate and timely information about water consumption a priority for our District,” said RMWD General Manager Tom Kennedy in a media release. “Traditional ‘smart meter’ systems used by other utilities are very expensive and not well suited to our service area. FlumePRO is the best water monitoring system we have ever seen, giving customers much better information about their water use directly, without requiring the District to capture that data and send it to them.”

A recent study of Flume users in a RMWD’s pilot program showed 88% of users are adopting more efficient water use practices; 64% reported detecting water leaks on their property; and 96% would recommend the new technology.”

The Flume sensor straps around the existing water meter and feeds real-time data to the companion iOS and Android App. It measures both indoor and outdoor irrigation water use to a tested accuracy of 99.9%, according to the press release.

Installation is simple and detects unknown leaks before customers receive their bill or cause costly damage; customers see how much water they are using in real-time, as well as daily, weekly and monthly; it allows residents and businesses to set water usage goals and budgets; and the technology delivers notifications via smartphone for suspicious water activities while away from home.

“It is also a small fraction of what traditional smart metering systems cost, which is why the Board of Directors decided to approve this program for our customers,” Kennedy said. “It allows you to figure out where your water is going, gain control over your water use, and avoid unforeseen water loss, all while keeping your data private — the District won’t be looking at your data from the FlumePRO system.”

This system includes the innovative new Flume Home Water Sensor, a lifetime warranty on hardware and free battery replacements. The sensor alone normally costs $200, but Rainbow Municipal Water District customers can purchase the FlumePRO Smart Water System for $49.

“This is a proven technology that water utilities are starting to embrace, because the benefits are so obvious,” said Joe Fazio, vice president of business development for Flume, Inc., which is partnering with the district. “Leaks are detected, money and water are saved, and customers are happier. This is just the beginning — in five years, this will be as standard as having a thermostat in your home.”