Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Smart Water Meter Pilot Underway


Last updated 4/2/2024 at 12:13pm

Using a State of California Proposition 68 Grant, the Borrego Water District is in the process of initiating installation of Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to conserve water thru early Customer leak detection and correction. AMI system are widely used in San Diego County and the State of California and in the case of Borrego Springs, the information provided will benefit the customer, BWD and the Basin. Colorado based Metron Farnier was selected for the Project.

Each month, BWD staff has to make the uncomfortable call to a handful of Customers after their meter reads indicate an increase in consumption, sometimes dramatic. Currently, high consumption is only realized when the BWD meter reader checks the reading around the 20th of each month. By that time, a leak may have been running for some, most or all of the previous month resulting in water bills totaling thousands of dollars. The AMI system will upload consumption data for each minute of each day to BWD. The software associated with the AMI system can recognize higher than usual consumption and notify BWD there is a problem. Knowing there is an issue after one day compared to up to one month will have a huge impact and should eliminate any future excessively high water bills for BWD customers.

Under certain circumstances, BWD has a Policy where it can waive a portion of excessively high water bills. In the past, this Program has cost BWD tens of thousands of dollars per year. In the future, there will be no need for BWD to waive a portion of excessively high water bills anymore, since they will no longer exist.

Last but not least, the water that flows out of leaking pipes must be pumped from the Basin into BWD tanks and then flow into pipes serving the community. Since AMI will dramatically reduce the time leaking pipes are running, BWD will not need to pump the water from the Basin in the first place and the water formerly wasted on leaks will be kept in the Basin = WIN, WIN, WIN.

One demo meter was installed on March 19th and data is being collected. A 100 meter pilot is scheduled to be installed in mid April and full implementation of all 2,100 BWD meters in the late summer/early fall. The Prop 68 Grant is for approximately $1.25 M and the total contract amount is $1.4 to be funded from BWD reserves.

Having the ability to evaluate water consumption at this level of detail will also be valuable as the State of California is gearing up to implement a gallons per person per day consumption standard in the future. Metron-Farnier’s software can provide a wide array of data including indoor vs outdoor usage.