The Carlsbad Municipal Water District wants customers to celebrate “Water Awareness Month” and get connected to receive real time water usage alerts that can help reduce their water bills and save water lost to leaks.
The water district recently completed the final stage of an advanced water meter technology project called WaterSmart that will provide an early warning of potential water leaks at homes and businesses. Water customers should update their contact information to be notified by text, phone or email.
Carlsbad is the first water district in the region to fully deploy this technology and recently received the 2019 Project of the Year award from the American Public Works Association.
In 2012 the water district began replacing traditional water meters with “smart meters” that enabled the collection of water usage information to be automated. Prior to that, district staff needed to manually check all 54,000 water meters each month to record usage for billing purposes.
The initial phase allowed district staff to collect water use information by simply driving by each meter instead of manually inspecting each device. Carlsbad’s hilly terrain limited the distance data could travel, preventing the system from being fully automated. With the recent installation of transmitters at strategic locations throughout the city, water usage data can now be sent back to the district office wirelessly.
In addition to streamlining the collection of water usage data, the new system automates the analysis of usage trends and other information, calling out unusual patterns that could be signs of a leak.
“Often customers only realize there could be a problem months after a leak has started, usually when they notice an increase in their water bills,” said Meter Services Supervisor Mario Remillard, who oversaw the district’s smart water meter project.
The new system gives real time information to water district staff so they can get in touch with the customer and provide tips to help identify a potential leak.
Customers are encouraged to provide updated contact information, including mobile phones numbers and email addresses so district staff can reach them quickly. A website has been set up to collect this information.
According to Remillard, staff who were previously assigned to manual meter reading have been redeployed to other work, enabling the water district to continue its high level of service while automating work to be more efficient. Taking utility trucks off the road also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is part of the City of Carlsbad’s Climate Action Plan.
The Carlsbad Municipal Water District, a subsidiary of the City of Carlsbad, serves about 85 percent of the city. South and southeastern portions of the city are served by the Vallecitos Water District and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.
More Information Mario Remillard, meter & customer services supervisor/conservation coordinator, 760-438-2722 Ext 7153, firstname.lastname@example.org