California water utility approves smart meter rollout 5 JULY 2016

US utility Santa Fe Irrigation District announced its plans to deploy a project to improve its revenue collection and help customers reduce their water usage and costs.

The California water utility will replace 7,300 of its existing water meters with smart meters as from August through to 2021 to ensure accurate billing.

By deploying the US$5.5 bn project, the water district aims to improve the management of its distribution network by having access to real time insights on the status of the network.

In total, the Santa Fe Irrigation District serves 19,800 consumers in the city of Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe and Fairbanks ranch communities.

However, the board of directors of the water district have so far approved the deployment of the first two phases of the project.

Under the two stages, the district will use US$1.175m to install two antennas to provide the connectivity of the smart water meters, 1,262 smart meters as well as the software needed to operate the new metering system.

The new metering system is said will send meter data to the district’s central data processors on an hourly basis. Moreover, consumers will have access to their usage data on the district’s website.

Bill Hunter, the district’s engineering manager, said: “This is a primary tool to facilitate water conservation.”

The smart meter project falls under the district’s efforts to reduce the effects of the drought which has affected California for the past five years.

The system will cost about US$55,000 per year to run, once all of the current manual meters have been replaced.

Smart water utility projects

In early June, US utility East Valley Water District (EVWD) also entered into a US$2m contract with water works equipment supplier Equarius Waterworks of Torrance to deploy an automated metering infrastructure project.

The five-year contract allows the California state water utility to replace existing water meters with smart meters to ensure accurate billing, as well as, to help customers to reduce their water usage and costs. [Smart water meters: US city installs new tech. for wireless meter reading].

According to a local source, the installation of the system is also expected to help reduce the operational costs of the water department by enabling quick detection of water leakages and remote meter reads.

The contract falls under EVWD’s efforts to enhance management of water to address the scarcity of water as a result of the drought. The utility provides water to consumers in San Bernadino and its surrounding areas.The project will be funded by a loan granted the local water district by the California Department of Water Resources.