Watch CBS News

South Bay pushes for smart meters to fight water waste

South Bay pushes to install smart meters to battle water waste
South Bay pushes to install smart meters to battle water waste 02:27

SAN JOSE - California has been struggling with water waste for some time. Across the state, new water meters are being implemented to help combat this issue and alleviate the drought season.

The results of new laws enacted several years ago and efforts to combat water waste are being seen now, and a push to install more smart water meters is taking shape across the Bay Area.

The drought monitor index in mid-June shows the entire Bay Area is in the midst of a severe drought.    

Water districts are getting more approvals to replace analog antiquated meters and bring in the new and improved.

Detecting an irrigation leak, resulting in wasted water, and a higher bill, could be made a lot quicker if you have some help from Advanced Metering Infrastructure, also called AMI.

"The meter records the water usage every 15 minutes and the cellular endpoint sends the information once a day," said Marin Water Meter Operations Supervisor Craig Lauridsen.

Since it's digital, you can monitor real-time water usage information with a few clicks on your smart-phone, tablet, or computer instead of relying on someone to manually read the meter and a water bill that arrives every two months.

It's an easier and faster way to read your meter, and alarms can be set to alert users of spikes in water consumption.

"It's nice that we can get this read back at the office which avoids a trip to this meter," Lauridsen said.

Marin Water initiated a pilot project installing AMI at police stations, public parks, and schools a few years ago as well as in some residential areas.

"You get the immediate feedback you have a leak and a leak can go from from two months down to 2 or 3 days," Lauridsen continued.

In the South Bay, more than 200,000 analog meters will get upgraded with newer technology as the San Jose Water Company just received final approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to install them.

In the North Bay, fewer than 10% of Marin Water's customers now have "Smart Meters" through a state grant.

Of those already installed, 10% of meters show some type of leak every day.

"It doesn't prevent leaks, but it shortens leak duration," Lauridsen explained.

Marin Water is in the planning stage of converting the rest of its some 60,000 meters but hasn't secured funding yet.

Beginning this year, a new state law limits indoor consumption at 55 gallons per capita per day before gradually dropping to 50 gallons by 2030. Enforcement is set to begin in 2025.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.