California American Water begins ambitious meter replacement project


Pacific Grove, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — October 27, 2008 – American Water subsidiary California American Water has started work on a new meter replacement program aimed at reducing water loss in its Monterey distribution system, which has faced strict, government-mandated water restrictions for more than a decade.
The meter replacement program, at an approximate cost of $5.5 million, will install 7,500 new meters by 2011. The project will keep the Monterey water system in compliance with California Public Utilities Commission rules that require replacement of meters according to their size and age. Most residential meters, connected to home service lines less than one inch in diameter, have to be replaced after 20 years of service.

"These replacements will improve the accuracy of our readings and reduce unaccounted for water losses," said general manager Craig Anthony

The Monterey District of California American Water, which serves the various communities of the Monterey Peninsula, has been under mandates to reduce its pumping from the primary local water source, the Carmel River, since the State Water Resources Control Board issued an order limiting the company’s water rights in 1995. There are two threatened species on the Carmel River: the Central Coast Steelhead Trout and California Red Legged Frog, protected by NOAA Fisheries and California Department of Fish and Game, respectively. In 2006, a judge also ordered reductions in pumping of the area’s secondary water source, the Seaside Basin.

As part of its response to these restrictions, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District has imposed a goal of seven percent for unaccounted water delivered by California American Water’s system, which has a current water loss rate of 12 percent. Unaccounted water is generally attributed to water lost through leaks, overflows, incorrect meter readings, and un-metered uses such as water for fire fighting.

"Getting our water losses down is a top priority," said Anthony. "We’ll be accomplishing this not only through our meter replacement program, but also through pipe replacements and new technology to help us detect leaks."

The replacement program offers several new technological advancements. The meters themselves are AMR ready, which will save time and labor and reduce the potential for errors. In addition, while the meters are being replaced, listening stations will be installed at every tenth meter throughout the system. Using advanced acoustic monitoring devices, the stations will record frequencies associated with water leaks during four-hour overnight periods and sent this data daily via RF to the California American Water local operations center for analysis. This will allow the identification of problematic underground infrastructure before it fails.

California American Water provides water and/or wastewater services to more than 600,000 people.