Waco City Council
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In the US, the Waco City Council has approved a $12 million contract for a smart water meter system which will enable real-time monitoring of water use by households and businesses in the city.

About 12,000 water meters which are due for an upgrade will be replaced, while the city’s other 34,000 will need to be retrofitted to be compatible with the new system.

The contract was awarded to Itron and Waco City will pay for the project with $12 million in financing awarded by the  Texas Water Development Board in July 2016.

Lisa Tyer, water utility director, says the advanced metering infrastructure has been a long time coming, with Tyer having initially reviewed options for an updated system years ago. As the move would not have been cost effective at the time, it was put on hold. However, she believes “this is just a great product for us to be able to bring to the city.”

It will eliminate the need for meter readers to check every meter in-person, with Waco utilities spokesperson Jonathan Echols saying the new system will be great for residents wanting to better manage and control their water use throughout the month.

The new system will include a customer portal and leak detection system. The automated leak detection will find small leaks sooner, and the system will be easier to repair with less damage and less water spilled, according to Tyer. Customers will also have direct access to consumption records and can set alerts for certain consumption levels.

Tyer confirmed that there would be no job losses as a result of the move to a smart metering system, saying that the 16 city staff members in the meter services department will retain their jobs, but their responsibilities will shift to preventative maintenance.

The system should last the city 20 years, Tyer said.

Installation of the smart meters will begin in either May or June 2019.