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The Santa Fe Irrigation District will begin installing automated water meters in Rancho Santa Fe later this month. The automated meters contain a small radio unit attached to the customer’s water meter, which sends hourly meter readings to the district. Rendering courtesy Santa Fe Irrigation District
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SFID begins automated metering system in region

REGION — The Santa Fe Irrigation District (SFID) is reaching out to its customers informing them of their new automated metering program.

At a recent Rancho Santa Fe Association meeting, Jessica Parks, public information officer for the water district, gave the RSF Association board and its Covenant members a short presentation.

Also referred to as an Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI), Parks explained that the district’s AMI program began in July 2016. She went on to share that the goal within the next five years was to replace 7,300 potable and recycled meters with automated meters.

“The new meters will send meter reads via radio signal every hour to the district,” Parks said.

According to Parks, these replacements will take place in six phases. To date, they are in phase two. The AMI project’s cost is $5.5 million.

“All of the Santa Fe Irrigation District service area will be completed by the summer of 2021.

It will take five years for the district to replace all meters within its service area of Rancho Santa Fe, Fairbanks Ranch and the city of Solana Beach,” she said.

Parks also noted that starting Nov. 28, the SFID would begin to change current water meters to the automated meters in the northeast portion of Rancho Santa Fe.  Customers will be notified ahead of time.

“First, a letter will be mailed to the property at least two weeks prior to the installation of the new meter. Then a notice will be placed at the entrance to the property (front door, side door, garage door, gate) no less than two days prior to work being performed in the neighborhood,” Parks said. “Given that the district will be replacing multiple meters within a neighborhood, most notices will give information of the week when the meter is to be replaced.”

Parks noted that the replacement is quick and takes roughly 30 minutes for each meter.

During the presentation, Parks highlighted the benefits of automated meters, such as increasing the amount of water usage data from only six meter reads a year to 8,760, early leak detection notification, improved accuracy of water bills, and enhances staff safety in terms of lessening potential injuries such as spider bites, bee stings and more.

“The district will have an online customer portal which will allow customers to review their water usage, set up alerts on water usage patterns, and enhance the customer’s ability to manage their water usage,” she said. Parks added, “And even with the increase in meter reads that the District will receive, customers billing will continue to be bi-monthly.”