The Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, located just north of Salt Lake City, Utah, United States (U.S.), is charged with serving more than 625,000 residents living in the second driest state in the nation. With 65 per cent of the district’s water being soaked up by manicured lawns and lush gardens, “secondary” or non-potable water became an issue for the municipality. The district’s high consumption and flat fee for unlimited use challenged Weber Basin trustees to implement a change.
“We had a situation where customers were using as much water as they wanted because they didn’t have to pay any more for it,” said Weber Basin’s Assistant General Manager of Strategic Initiatives Darren Hess. “We didn’t want to bill our customers more but instead wanted them to understand how much they were using so they could proactively conserve.”
To revitalise the infrastructure and accurately measure water consumption, Weber Basin turned to Sensus, a Xylem brand. Weber Basin selected the Sensus Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solution, which allowed the district to monitor secondary water systems and hold customers accountable for excessive use. When integrated with the district’s new software programme, the utility can now deliver additional outdoor watering data and conservation tips to their customers.
“As people realise how much water one cycle of their sprinkler system uses, we can start to make a real difference,” explained Hess.
So far Weber Basin has deployed approximately 6,375 Sensus iPERL® water meters to accurately measure water flow data, including secondary water with abnormal amounts of silt or sediment. The meters were connected to the district office through the Sensus FlexNet® communication network, allowing staff to monitor usage and report issues to customers in near real time.
The implementation proved to be the nudge Weber Basin residents needed. By providing a comprehensive usage data report, depicting actual water use compared to the customers’ estimated need, 30 per cent of customers promised to take immediate action and reduce outdoor watering. With better customer awareness, Weber Basin’s water usage was reduced by 30 to 40 per cent.
“Before we installed the new solution, many customers were excessively using water out of sheer habit or were unaware that their sprinkler systems were set to run for so long,” said Hess. “Since upgrading to AMI we’ve found that our customers are welcoming the data we’re now able to provide.”