As with practically everything else in the modern world, digital technology is transforming our daily lives. Watches monitor our health; phones recognize our voices; our cars practically drive for us. Soon, the city of Greeley will embark on an important project to start saving water with digital technology.
The City of Greeley will start replacing existing residential and commercial water meters with ones that send a signal through the cell phone network to measure a customer’s water in real time. This will help customers manage their water use better and help the city reduce waste. In fact, in an upcoming project to replace 14,500 water meters throughout Greeley, the city is expected to see a savings of 200 million gallons of water every year.
This new technology comes at a time now when many of the city’s water meters are more than 20 years old and are starting to fail and inaccurately record water usage. City of Greeley crews have already replaced 2,000 meters, but with plans to replace 29,500 by 2026, the city needed a boost. Last year, the city received a $1.45 million grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which will help replace another 12,500 by 2022.
Beginning in mid-July, residents will see the city’s vendor, UMS, rolling through neighborhoods to replace 6,250 meters this year, followed by 6,250 next year. They will do so in a phased approach, starting by replacing meters in Greeley that have failed already or are on the brink of failing. The remaining city meters will be replaced as funding permits in the next few years.
The city began replacing meters with this new technology in 2019. New homes moving forward have or will be built with these meters.
For the average resident who will get a new meter, it means more accurate water billing, more control over water use, and fewer trucks rolling through the neighborhoods to collect readings. These new water meters are in direct connection with the city and report water usage in real time. Gone are the days of waiting a month to see how much water you use. Gone are the days of finding out a month too late that the sprinkler system sprouted a leak. You can monitor your water at home, while you’re away, even set leak alerts.
The city estimates it will save at least 615 acre-feet per year (AFY), or 200 million gallons, in improved meter accuracy. For context, 1 acre foot of water is enough water to provide for 2-3 homes a year in Greeley. The savings with new meters citywide will help the city accommodate roughly 1,200 new homes. With the state demographer predicting the city of Greeley’s population will double in the next 40 years, it’s best to start planning now how to provide enough water for a booming population base.
Customers who get new meters should connect to WaterSmart to manage their systems. Customers will be able to do this via the existing WaterSmart platform online at https://greeley.watersmart.com. For more information about the new meters and which areas will get meters this year, please visit https://greeleygov.com/services/ws/water-budget/metering.