(Published Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013. Weatherford Star Telegram)
Approval from the Hudson Oaks City Council in February let the city test 42 new automated water meters in the Red Eagle area for 60-90 days.
At its meeting City Council Thursday, City Administrator Patrick Lawler presented the results of the pilot program.
“We have found zero deficiencies in the system,” Lawler said of the test run.
After 60 days of testing the meters, they had not had any issues with them. So they extended the test to 90 days, hoping that some problem would arise so they could deal with it, but nothing did, Lawler said.
“We figured we’d lose one meter in the process,” Lawler said, but even with two major storms they all worked as they were supposed to.
Lawler said the Mueller Systems, providers of the meters, said the system has 99.9 percent accuracy and the pilot showed that.
A customer portal online comes with the system which will allow residents to check their meter readings online – how many gallons they use as well as at what times. That data will be able to be checked at any time and be current.
“It allows residents to be educated about their water usage,” Lawler said.
Lawler said they hope that will lead residents to be more aware and then find ways to save water.
With an average loss of 18 percent of water from 2011-12, Lawler said the city lost over $130,000.
But saving just 3 percent of that could save the city of Hudson Oaks thousands of dollars.
The meter will save the city a total of seven to 10 days of employees’ work each month between not having to check meters manually or enter data.
The 2012 Water Improvement Program Funding for the city budgeted $180,000 for a less advanced system but staff instead decided to go with the automated system which will not need regular checks or maintenance.
Replacing the meters and software will cost almost $300,000 but the city will pay for the excess with the over $150,000 already saved elsewhere.
The council unanimously decided to install the new meters for the rest of the city at the meeting. The system should be in place in January of 2014.