Smart water meter infrastructure (AMI) has been around for several years, however the technical development in recent years has driven cost and reliability to acceptable levels. First developed in the electrical grid, its application has quickly spread to the public water system. Municipal water customers want the ability to control and regulate their individual water usage to offset rising retail potable water costs. Utilities can provide better service by monitoring water usage, develop quicker response to customer inquiries and better monitor and anticipate system problems to prevent outages. The ability for the customer and water utility to share real time data makes for satisfied customers and informed utility management. The data exchange has the ability to offer more customer friendly water rates, due to better understanding of peak customer demand and system operating costs, customer budgeting for monthly water bills, and prepayment on established water usage. Informed customers are more willing to upgrade their plumbing systems, as they see the real time benefits of results. Reduction in utility peak demand has significant savings in new infrastructure budgeting and maintenance. Actual Central Texas case studies will be used to illustrate the benefits and cost saving associated with AMI conversion.
Patrick A. Lackey PE