Water Metering System Upgrade to Advanced Metering

Project Status

As of October 2021: Close to 98% of all District meters have been upgraded to intelligent meters (i-meters). The remaining upgrades are primarily large meter (i.e. 1.5” – 3”) replacements supplying commercial and multifamily residential customers and generally require more coordination and level of staff effort. Additionally, some concrete and metal meter box lids need to be replaced with composite lids (or be retrofit to accommodate under the lid antennas) to improve data transmission performance. Staff expects to complete the remaining upgrades by the summer of 2022.

The following radio communications/fixed network equipment has been installed: Four (4) base stations and 11 repeaters. We are currently working on securing new locations for our metering system contractor to install up to five (5) additional repeaters in areas of the District where radio frequency transmission does not meet our performance standards (i.e. daily and hourly consumption data is not consistently being received by the base stations).  (Note: As we are still working on installing this equipment in a few areas of the District, i-meters in these areas may not yet be connected to the i-meter communications network, or maybe connected but are not consistently transmitting their stored hourly and daily consumption data). We expect to complete this work by the summer of 2022.  

Approximately 96% of all 16,000 meters in the District’s service area are connected to the i-meter radio communications network and about 80% are consistently meeting radio frequency transmission performance standards. 

The WaterSmart Software Customer Engagement Portal was rolled out to customers in December 2019.  The Portal allows customers to view near-real-time water consumption data on a daily and hourly basis, sign-up to receive alerts for potential leaks and higher than normal usage, and pay bills online. Approximately 50% of eligible accounts have registered for the Portal.

Project Description

In June of 2019, the District began work to upgrade our water metering system (comprised of approximately 16,000 water meters) to i-meters. The project allows for the electronic collection and transmission of daily and hourly water consumption data and leak alerts to the District for billing and customer service purposes. Additionally, the data is now available to most customers through the WaterSmart Customer Portal, providing more frequent usage information, tools to help them better manage their water use and bills, and near real-time notification of leaks.

Of the approximately 16,000 total meters, about 15,500 will be upgraded by replacing the existing meter's electronic component (i.e. the register) with a new i-meter register. This component of the project does not require water service to be shut off, thus no impacts to customers are expected. The remaining 500 meters are nearing the end of their anticipated life cycle and will be fully replaced with a new i-meter (i.e. meter + electronic register). This work will require a brief water shut-off, and District staff will notify affected customers in advance of this work. All existing concrete or cast-iron meter box lids will be replaced with a polymer lid or be retrofit with an antenna under the meter lid, allowing for better electronic data transmission.

The final component of the project is the installation of the metering system's communications equipment (i.e. base stations and repeater antennas) which utilize radio frequency transmission to receive usage data from the meter's electronic register and convey it to the District. Communications equipment will primarily be installed on District-owned sites, or on utility poles.