Backed by a guaranteed system-wide water infrastructure improvement program with Honeywell, the $32 million project aims to increase meter accuracy, improve leak detection and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The upgrades are expected to help the Authority save more than $1 million in annual electricity and operational costs, and add approximately $1.5 million in revenue through increased water meter accuracy, which is guaranteed by Honeywell.
“Our previous water meter operation was essentially manual, leaving us with an unclear picture of how much water was lost due to leaks in customers' homes and our system,” said Gary Robertson, executive director for Water Operations at the Western Virginia Water Authority. “The upgrades are focused on helping us better manage our water supply and improve leak detection, which, in turn, will translate into better customer service.”
Under the program, approximately 58,000 residential and commercial water meters will be replaced with new electronic meters that wirelessly transmit real-time readings back to the Authority. The new electronic meters are expected to improve meter accuracy, help identify leaks and eliminate bi-monthly estimation of residential meter readings. Although meters will not need to be manually read with the new system, there will be no loss of Authority jobs as staff will work on other projects within the organization.
Honeywell will also install a data management system to provide a single, centralized view of the Authority’s water systems, as well as other detail including hourly customer consumption data. In addition, the new zone metering capabilities will help the Authority more effectively identify potential leaks in its water system and reduce water loss.
Along with the metering system upgrades, the program will include energy retrofits and other conservation measures at Authority facilities, including its pump stations and four main water supply plants.
It is estimated that these upgrades will trim the Authority’s electricity use by nearly 5 million kWh annually and decrease CO2 emissions by an estimated 8.8 million pounds per year. According to figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, this is equivalent to removing more than 780 cars from the road.