The Carlsbad Municipal Water District received the 2019 Excellence in Resourcefulness award for a project that improves meter reading efficiency and reduce water loss from leaks. The award ceremony was held on Oct. 14 during Itron Utility Week, at a national conference of utility professionals.
Carlsbad is the first water district in the San Diego region to fully deploy advanced metering infrastructure technology, which transmits water meter data wirelessly from customer sites to the water district main office. Previously, water district employees manually checked 54,000 meters on a monthly basis to record customer usage for billing.
The project also received the 2019 Project of the Year award from the American Public Works Association.
“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.
With the new technology, staff can monitor meters in real-time and identify abnormally high water usage that can often be a sign of water leaks. Through proactive customer outreach, the water district has helped customers reduce their water consumption by 37% within six months.
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% of the city. Southern and southeastern portions of the city are served by the Vallecitos Water District and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.
Mario Remillard, meter & customer services supervisor/conservation coordinator,