Automated Meter Reading in the Otay Water District
Residential water meters in the Otay Water District’s service area are now read via an automated system. Automated Meter Reading meters (AMR) transmit water use data via a one-way radio signal from the meter to a meter reader up to a half mile away. Instead of lifting the cover and visually inspecting each meter every month, data is transmitted electronically to a specially equipped vehicle driving through your neighborhood.
When using AMR meters, a single meter reader can record readings from up to 5,000 meters during a typical eight hour shift; as opposed to that same person walking ten to fifteen miles each day and reading approximately 700 meters –a nearly 300 percent increase. This well-proven and cost-effective technology helps the District increase productivity and reduces costs, improves customer service, it even promotes conservation.
As part of its AMR program, the District replaced more than 49,000 water meters. This took place over time with new meters installed in groups representing a manually read route. The phasing of installation minimized the cost to the District and allowed the implementation of a quality control process to ensure the accuracy of each new meter. The quality control process included both automated and manual reads of each meter and follow-up automated and manual reads each year to verify the ongoing accuracy.
This phasing of installation will also facilitate the replacement of batteries and AMR transponders at scheduled intervals. The cost of this capital improvement project, over the life of the project, was $10.4 million and customers received the new AMR meter at no charge.
How can AMR meters help homeowners save water?
AMR meters record water use data on a hourly basis and store that information for up to 60-days. This data can help a homeowner identify an unusual water use pattern, such as a sprinkler system that starts unexpectedly in the middle of the night or runs longer than planned.