Non-Revenue Water and Water Loss
In 2012, AVHCWD began a residential water meter replacement program to solve the district's non-water revenue and water loss issue. Since there wasn't apparent water loss from leaks where water surfaces from the ground. The next step was taking measurements at our water wells and residential meters. Our well flow meters are sent to the manufacturer every two years for maintenance and re-calibration. So, we know those meters accurately measure the water pumping out of the aquifer. The residential water meters have been in the ground well past the expected useful life, typically 10-15 years. A few were thought to be over 30 years old! Replacing the entire district meters was no easy task, physically and financially. By the end of 2015, our maintenance staff replaced all 284 meters.
Was our water loss problem resolved?
Not entirely but we are on the right track. The flowmeters installed on our water wells are propeller-style flow meters, which are common industry standards. In 2018, with an investment in new technology and proven metering accuracy, with recommendations by staff, our Board of Directors approved the upgrades of our water well piping to allow a new type of water well flow meter. Magnetic flowmeters were installed on both water wells, and additional components to our SCADA system were integrated, allowing staff to read water production remotely.
What is a Magnetic Flow Meter?
Magnetic flow meters have sensors placed inline and measure an induced voltage generated by the fluid as it flows through the pipe. A separate transmitter takes the voltage generated, converts the voltage into a flow measurement, and transmits that signal to our SCADA system.
Continuing to search for Missing Water...
In 2019, after all that work and nearly ten years later, it was time again to start looking at replacing those residential meters. After much research and networking, we learned about the Sonata Ultrasonic Meter. Our General Manager met with our parts supply representative. After many negotiations and Board approval, AVHCWD invested long-term in smart metering technology using the Master Meters Sonata Residential Water Meter. This new water meter replacement program has several stages before it can be appreciated. Purchasing and installing the meters to replace our ever-growing water system, replacing the district's older and undersized residential water service lines to our new district standard of 1", and upgrading the water district's billing program and other water software technologies.
So here we are in 2024 with nearly all 316 service connections installed with the 1" Sonata Meters. And is our water system efficiency compared to 2012? When comparing the amount of water our water wells produce in one month against the customer's water meter readings for the same month, we have a result of only a 2% difference. I am happy to say our water system efficiency has consistently measured over 98% over the past several months.
...And we're not done!
The District has yet to begin using the meter's full capabilities. Implementing existing technology to have our customer water meters communicate with our district office. The district is currently in discussions with our new parts supplier, HydroPro Solutions, on the software, allowing our customers to log into their water accounts to see almost live water use data. If our customers want to make smart decisions on their water use and help with water conservation, they can now manage it. "You can't manage what you don't measure." Standard features also notify our district office and the customer of continuous flow (water leak or someone left the hose on), empty pipe (meter was removed or water leak), reverse flow (possible water main leak or meter was installed backward), high flow, and low flow (possible water leak). This software will also allow staff to remotely read your water meter, saving time and removing the human error portion of collecting each water meter reading. These factors will help keep the water district's costs down and reduce injuries—and potential vehicle accidents while on our busy roadways.
You can't manage what you don't measure