California municipality uses technology to monitor water use

Sept. 4, 2015

The agency engages with the public through social media outlets, videos, a smartphone app and drought updates.

PERRIS, Calif. — Sept. 1, 2015 — The Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) monitors its customers’ water usage to help it conserve during severe drought, according to

EMWD serves about 770,000 customers across a 542-square-mile area in one of the driest regions in the state, noted the article. To ensure the agency reports usage correctly to the state, it "tracks per capita water use by linking their billing system to their geographic information system spatial database to more accurately profile where their water is being used and by whom."

The agency has been engaged in the practice for several years, stated the article. The information obtained allows EMWD to monitor where waste might occur and how to meet the community’s needs with water accessibility.

EMWD will soon change more than 140,000 meters from monthly reading and analyzation to Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology, which transmits real-time information, reported the article. The district will be able to be more proactive with the data.

EMWD correlates household size, landscape area, new connection figures, weather, temperature and indoor to outdoor water use ratio, population fluctuations and more, shared the article. These measurements have allowed EMWD to present a downward trend in gallons per capita day to its executive staff and board of directors.

The data allow EMWD customers to go without blanket restrictions, such as limits on which days people can water, noted the article. Fines are enforced for "blatant water waste such as letting water run down the sidewalk and into the street."

"EMWD has an allocation-based tiered rate structure designed to incentivize conservation through lower price points for efficient use," said Kevin Pearson, EMWD spokesperson, in the article. "Since the rate structure was put in place, we have seen a reduction of nearly 25 percent in potable water use throughout our service area."

EMWD also engages with the community through social media outlets, videos, a smartphone app and drought updates, stated the article. The agency also encourages citizen reporting to involve residents in conservation efforts.

You can find the entire article here.

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