The Irving Water Utilities Department oversees more than 50,000 meters, which measure the volume of water delivered to residential and commercial customers throughout the city. With such a large water infrastructure network, the department is consistently seeking innovative technology to enhance delivery, improve billing accuracy and keep costs down for its customers.
In April 2020, the Water Utilities Department launched a pilot program to evaluate the performance of 50 of its 680 large water meters. Large meters are used at commercial properties, such as businesses, hotels, schools, apartments, manufacturing facilities and hospitals. A large meter is 4-inches in diameter or larger to accommodate the need for higher water usage. Residential meters are smaller in diameter because less water is consumed by individual households than larger commercial properties.
During the initial phase, the department found that the program provided additional information that traditional testing could not provide. While large meters constitute only 1% of the city’s total system, they account for 30% of water revenue. Any inaccuracies in these large meters can have substantial impact on water and revenue loss. Since its initial launch, the program has expanded and now covers 150 large meters throughout the city.
Crews installed assessment equipment on the large water meters, including sensors that detect the amount of water flowing through the meter and how much flow is detected on the water meter register. They can compare that data with how the water meter was intended by the manufacturer to perform. Overall, this technology can detect whether the water meter is functioning properly.
Water Utilities prioritizes the efficacy of its infrastructure — understanding which of its critical components need replacement and indicating where the department should focus its efforts.
This program helps the department focus on the meters that are having the most critical problems. Knowing this, crews can respond quickly to address issues, from replacing parts on a water meter to assessing where the next water meter replacement is most needed. By repairing and replacing these meters, the department is able to reduce the city’s water loss and help keep water rates down for all customers.
The technology also assists crews, who monitor system usage remotely, by providing guidance on problematic parts. Crews can then plan for repairs with the knowledge and tools necessary to fix the issue even before opening the water meter vault.