Pinetop Water, located in the small town of Pinetop, Ariz., often faced difficulties monitoring its tank, well sites and meters during its snowy winters. The utility turned to a smart water network to ensure that its citizens had reliable access to water year round. What Pinetop did not anticipate was the benefit of saved revenue through the installation of a smart water network.
With five water sites, including wells and tanks that needed to be monitored daily, Pinetop Water struggled with the costly amount of staff time and transportation required during the treacherous winters. Prior to the smart water installation, an employee visited water sites seven days a week to check water levels, turn wells on or off and check that there were no power outages.
Pinetop Water knew that with the cost of continued manual meter reads it would ultimately need a solution that would maximize efficiency, safety and revenue. The utility selected a smart water network to enable constant access to water from the safety and comfort of the office using a computer, tablet or even smartphone. This automation technology turns wells on or off based on how much water is in the tanks and sends alerts when the water hits a certain level, allowing for greater efficiency.
“We saw the benefit of the smart water network almost immediately,” says Carol Benson, office manager at Pinetop Water. “It takes about five minutes for me to read the meters each day, and staff that previously spent four days each month reading meters are now doing proactive upgrades to our system.”
Not only did Pinetop Water see a return on its investment, but also an increase in revenue savings. Many of the utility’s old meters did not pick up on low flow water usage. Now Pinetop Water is able to charge customers for all of their water usage, resulting in more accurate revenue for the utility.
With help from data centers for its meter management, Pinetop Water is able to simplify billing and account management, network management functions and data warehousing all through one system. This enables Pinetop to reap the full benefits of a smart water network and automation without requiring additional staff time or a significant IT investment.
Since Pinetop Water has implemented a smart water network, the staff no longer spends days driving on icy roads, digging for water meters buried in snow or dealing with fluctuating well and tank levels. The data from this network has helped the utility to identify problems quickly, save on man power and labor costs and, ultimately, increase revenue.
Dan Pinney is the Director of Global Water Marketing for Sensus, a leading clean technology solutions company offering smart meters, communication systems, data analytics software and services for electric, gas and water industries. Dan has more than 20 years of experience with Sensus in the global water industry with leadership roles in operations and development. Dan attended the University of Florida majoring in electrical engineering.