Big Bear Lake, CA, April 27, 2016 – When in drought, every drop counts. When every drop counts, water agencies count on every meter to accurately measure those drops.
In 2014, the City of Big Bear Lake Department of Water began a meter replacement program to replace each of the Department’s 15,580 meters with a radio-read meter. Radio read meters offer many advantages, including the ability to measure exactly how water much is used, where, and when, and relay that information back to the DWP within hours for analysis.
At the outset of the program, the DWP anticipated it would take six years to complete the project. However, the extended drought has actually provided a weather window for the DWP to install meters more quickly than predicted. The department is now nearly a year ahead of schedule and has installed almost 6,000 radio-read meters to date.
Radio-read meters provide the DWP a new tool in the fight against water loss as live data improves leak detection. More timely and accurate information improves effectiveness throughout the department, from monitoring use for conservation, to filling reservoirs in anticipation of busy holiday weekends. The meters also help to minimize, and will eventually largely eliminate the need to estimate water usage in the winter when staff cannot access meter boxes buried beneath the snow. The radio-transmitted signal also keeps vehicles off the road, reducing the department’s impact on local traffic and the environment.
In January, the Bear Valley had single digit temperatures and several customers’ water services froze and broke. The radio read system identified 49 leaks and the customers were notified within hours, which minimized property damage and minimized water waste.