Rocky Mountain Water - March/April 2023
ensuring those customers are billed accurately for the millions of gallons of water flowing to them each month. Even minor degradations in the performance and accuracy of these large meters can make a big difference in revenue and water loss for a utility. However, ensuring that they’re accurate is not always easy, as about one in 10 large meters breaks each year, and meter failures can’t really be predicted: There’s no correlation between how long they’ve been in the ground and how they perform. Additionally, there has traditionally been no efficient way to identify underperforming meters. Access can also be a problem. The underground pits where large meters are often housed can create a hot, humid, waterlogged environment. There is an emerging bright side, however. Technology focused on water management has evolved to the point where it can be deployed at a useful scale and deliver actionable insights for utilities. From low-power, edge-computing chipsets to solar panels to artificial intelligence and machine learning, today’s technology allows utility companies to gain new visibility into where their water goes. This system of data-driven decision-making has proven especially useful with large commercial meters. This technology can now identify even minor degradations in meter
performance, as well as diagnose the type of performance issue. By identifying leaks and inaccurate readings and then prioritizing which parts of the system should be fixed first, cities both recover crucial lost revenue and ensure that everyone pays their fair share. Along with population growth, cities face increasing challenges brought about by water scarcity, and investing in next-generation technology lays the foundation for water equity. Everyone agrees that water is a right, not a privilege, but cities will need to embrace new innovations to ensure that right for all members of their communities.
Quinn Jackson-Elliot is Vice President of government relations at Olea Edge Analytics, where she forges partnerships with cities and utilities across the country. She focuses on bringing innovation to address revenue predictability, operational
excellence, equity, and sustainability. Quinn has a passion for helping municipalities and utilities integrate technology as a key component of utility management to ensure all citizens have access to safe and affordable drinking water. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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