Arlington Goes High-Tech with New Automated Water Meter Readers

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Water meter readers are a common site in Arlington as they move through the city’s neighborhoods on foot. Recently, about 17,000 residential and commercial water customers in the city received new high-tech wireless water meters that will make meter reading more accurate. The new meter reading system also is expected to help reduce costs for the city by removing vehicles used for meter-reading activit y, and will streamline and enhance customer service.

In July 2011, the city began a pilot program with the installation of automated water meters in an area bound by Park Row Drive on the south, Interstate 30 on the north and from the eastern city limits close to the western city limits. These initial units were installed in an area where four of the city’s 20 water billing areas where the cost to read meters was the highest. The installations in the area were completed in about 12 months. The new meters look similar to the previous ones with one major difference – a wire is attached to a disc-like transmitter that utilizes radio signals and sends usage readings to the city’s Water Utilities department.

Under the current system, the city obtains water usage readings once every 30 days utilizing “human meter readers.” Each of the city’s 20 meter reading areas has its own day each on which meters are read each month. The City plans to expand the automated system over a period of nine years, eventually covering all 105,000 meters in the system.

Unexplained usage can indicate a water leak in your plumbing.  Sometimes automatic sprinkler systems reset after a storm and the customer is unaware that they are watering daily, inadvertently increasing the water usage. In addition to providing more accurate readings, the meters will give customers a new tool to help analyze their water usage and locate potential leaks. The meters will read water usage hourly using a wireless system.