California's New Smart Meters Will Track Water Use

dripping faucet photo

Photo by AMagill via Flickr Creative Commons

Smart water management technology is set to be a $16 billion industry over the next 10 years as companies and governments recognize that efficient water management is as important - if not more important - than smart electricity management. Of course, if you can't measure it, you can't manage it, which is just why California is gearing up with smart water meters. Smart Meters Could Help Save Enough Water to Supply Major Cities
According to Green Inc, a forthcoming report from from the California Energy Commission reveals that smart meters are finding a foothold in California - and that's no small matter. California has a water crisis on its hands, and just last summer a report showed how businesses could save enough water to supply San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles just by making a few tweaks to their water use habits. And smart meters can help with that measurement, management, and major savings.

old water meter photo

Photo via ianmunroe via Flickr CC
Smart Meters for Water Save Time, Money, and Energy
Lon W. House, the report's author, told Green Inc that around half of the state's water utilities have some smart meters in their service areas and that the number is likely to be "significantly" higher now because the report's data was now over a year old. That's a good sign, considering a law passed last year calls for cities to cut their water use by 20% over the next ten years.

Smart water meters not only cut water consumption, but also save time and money for utilities, because even though a utility worker may have to drive to the meter locations, they can read the signal electronically from the vehicle, rather than needing to walk from meter to meter. The meters record water consumption on an hourly basis, which means habits and problems with the system can be detected and dealt with more quickly and effectively. Mr. House said that smart meters could cut water consumption by 5 to 15 percent - similar to the amount of energy a household saves immediately by paying attention to their electricity consumption.

So far, Sacramento and Fresno are beginning to install water meters, and San Diego is looking into requiring multi-family buildings to have meters for individual units. It's just a start, but it's a start, and in a state that simultaneously has drought issues and uses a massive amount of water in the agricultural and business sectors, it's an important move forward.

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