NID’s new water meters will help track water use, detect leaks

June 28, 2019 – Real-time tracking of water use and quickly identifying leaks are the major benefits of the latest generation of smart water meters being installed by Nevada Irrigation District (NID) for treated water customers.

NID has installed about 6,400 Badger meter systems, a cellular communication system that provides up-to-the-minute information on water use and can help customers conserve water – and save money.

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So far, about one of every three meters have been replaced, but eventually all 19,500 meters will be on the state-of-the-art system. NID will install the new meters as the previous generation radio-read meters need to be replaced, said Chip Close, water operations manager for the District. About 3,000 meters have been installed during the past year.

“It’s about efficiency and our focus on conservation,” said Close during his informational presentation to the NID Board of Directors meeting June 26. “It’s also an additional layer of information for our customer base.”

The new water meters will collect data and send the information to NID, eliminating the need for water meter readers in the future while also helping identify leaks, especially those that need immediate repairs. NID’s three water meter readers will become water efficiency technicians, further helping customers conserve water.

“We can help customers better understand their usage and identify leaks,” said Kaycee Strong, NID water efficiency technician.

Unfortunately, leaks are part of water service. For example, the new water meters detected 673 leaks on June 18, from a 1-gallon-per-hour leak to 464 gallons, Strong said.

Leaks of 100 gallons or more per hour are considered a major problem and fixed immediately. Customers with smaller leaks will receive a letter to encourage them to check everything from a garden hose left on to a need-to-repair toilet.

Leaks are detected if customers have continuous water flow for 24 straight hours without a 15-minute break, Strong said. Some larger customers, such as apartment buildings and grocery stores, have continuous flow, which makes detecting leaks more difficult.

Each of the new Badger water meters cost 86 cents per month – or about $205,000 at full implementation per year, Close said.