Directors Vote to Get Smart

Montecito Water District to begin implementation of Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI), commonly referred to as “Smart Meters” in 2019.

(Montecito, California, October 3, 2018)

In August the District’s Board of Directors voted unanimously in support of moving forward with the implementation of a Smart Metering Program, and closed the deal last week by approving a 10-year financing plan with Holman Capital Corporation for the project’s estimated cost of 3 million dollars. Over the last year, the District has been analyzing alternatives and selected a program designed to meet the needs of customers and the District, while being cost competitive.

The main benefits of a Smart Metering Program are access to near “real-time” water use data, along with alerts for leaks and high flow scenarios. This will help the District prevent unintended water use, and benefit customers who seek easy access to usage information, and protection from the costs that can accompany undetected leaks, dripping faucets, or a forgotten hose. Additional advantages to the District include an improvement in long-term accuracy of the meters, lower operations and maintenance expenses, and a reduction in unaccounted for water loss.

The District is due for a meter replacement program as nearly ¾ of the District’s existing meters have exceeded or are about to exceed the average lifespan of a meter, which is estimated to be about 15 years. Technology has led to major advancements in the water meter industry in the past 10-15 years; the District will provide new ultrasonic meters, manufactured by Badger, accompanied by a fixed-base network of automated meter reading infrastructure, manufactured by Itron. Installation will begin in early 2019 and it will take approximately six months to replace all of the District’s meters--more than 4,600 in total.

Tracking water use remains essential as the District moves into year 8 of historic drought. When allocations and penalties were repealed in 2017, the District anticipated that customer usage might increase, however the good news is that conservation has remained relatively consistent. The District’s water supply planning outlook (3 years) projects water supply availability through mid-2020 under drought conditions with customer conservation continuing at around 30% as compared to 2013 usage. The Smart Metering Program is one of many strategies being implemented to maximize the District’s water supply portfolio.

Montecito Water District's mission is to provide an adequate and reliable supply of high quality water to the residents of Montecito and Summerland, at the most reasonable cost. In carrying out this mission, the District places particular emphasis on providing outstanding customer service, conducting its operations in an environmentally sensitive manner, and working cooperatively with other agencies. For additional information visit, like Montecito Water District on Facebook, and follow on twitter @MontecitoWater.