The US City of Austin has applied for loans from the Texas Water Development Board to help its water division, Austin Water, upgrade its metering and wastewater systems.The city said it plans to direct the US$80m loan towards the installation of smart water meters to allow accurate meter reads and billing, once the loan is approved.
The other US$87m loan will help fund the upgrade of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
According to a local publication, the city believes its water metering upgrade project will reduce its operational costs as it will also allow remote meter readings.
The approval of the loan to deploy the smart water meters will result in Austin Water increasing its water rates by 1.7%/68 cents on consumers' monthly bills.
[quote] However, besides awaiting approval of the loan, the city said it still needs to analyse the results of smart water meters pilots carried out by other US cities inorder to have a guideline on how to deploy an AMI project before kickstart.
Smart water meters in the US
In early February, the US city of Wichita Falls signed a contract with smart grid solutions provider, Ameresco for the rollout of smart water meters also to gain a revenue increase and operational cost savings.
The city predicts the new system will result in operational savings of up to US$1m a year.
According to a local publication, Ameresco will replace the city’s existing 34,000 water meters with new smart water meters and related infrastructure under the US$16m project.
Commenting on the benefits of the system, Jim Dockery, Witchita Falls deputy city manager said: "The savings will come through lower labor and other costs associated with meter reading and replacement. We will gain additional revenue from an increase in meter accuracy."
The project will start off with the installation of infrastructure for a radio communication system in the first two to three months of the project's timeline. [Smart water meters: US cities curb non-technical losses]
Two hundred smart water meters will be installed daily with the second phase of the project expected to be completed within next 12-18 months.
Dockery added: "We're not raising rates to pay for this system."
Image credit: www.kci-bluecurrent.com.