Douglas County’s extreme drought of 2007 brought a new awareness to the importance of conserving the world’s most valuable natural resource — water, and WSA is committed to its continued conservation and preservation. A new component of our conservation program is a project which enables us to better record low-flow usage, allows us to more quickly identify leaks on your side of the meter, and helps us identify problems with our water system more rapidly, all of which will help reduce the amount of water wasted.
The project involves the replacement of all water meters in our system with state-of-the-art technology. Many of the meters in WSA’s water system today are over 15 years old and need to be replaced. Just like people, they have a tendency to slow down with age. As a result, over time they can sometimes under-record the actual low-flow usage. The cost to replace them for newer ones of the same kind is just not cost effective.
Water meter state-of-the-art technology is commonly known as “smart metering”. Smart meters are electronic meters and have been widely used since the 1980’s. The new technology in the meters is a small transmitter that sends meter data via radio frequency to a collector unit or transmitter where it collects the meter read data and transmits it to the billing system. The billing staff reviews and processes the data, and a bill is generated.
Here’s what smart metering improvements will mean for you. Instead of a meter reader coming to your property once a month to read your meter, your meter data will be read electronically. Smart metering will give WSA the ability to collect continuous readings from the location from one month to the next. In addition, this will be a tool for us to help you detect if you have a leak on your side of the meter, thus cutting down on the valuable time and amount of water you would otherwise lose to a leak. For example, a meter showing consumption continuously 24 hours a day is a good indication there is a leak. Also, when you call with a concern about your water bill, representatives will be able to pull up your account and actually see your usage by hour for the past month.
Because most fixtures and appliances manufactured since 1993 have been designed to use less water (i.e., toilets, dishwashers, showers, etc.), new meters being manufactured are designed to detect and record flows as low as 1/8 of a gallon per minute. Meters used in the last 25 years have only been able to read water used at a rate of 1/4 of gallon per minute, or more. Depending on the age and accuracy of your current meter, your usage patterns, the number of low-flow fixtures in your home, and other factors such as any conservation measures you exercise in your home, you may or may not see a slight increase in your water bill once the new meter is installed.
With 42,000 meters to replace, it is estimated it could take approximately six years to complete this water meter replacement program. As the project moves from one area of the county to another, you’ll be notified by a letter a few weeks prior to it coming to your area. This will be followed by a door hanger a few days before the work is performed. Please click here to print a brochure.
Listed below are some informational flyers which you may find helpful.
How to Remove Air from Water Pipes in the Home
Backflow Prevention – 101
Protect Your Plumbing From Thermal Expansion
Shutting Off Your Customer Water Valve Located Near the WSA Meter Box