City of Columbia Looks to Upgrade Water Meter Sytem

A new water meter system is being installed in Columbia,

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - If you've ever looked at your water bill and wondered how it went up, the city of Columbia is a step closer to a system that will give you those details before that higher bill comes in.

The city of Columbia wants to spend about $40 million dollars to completely overhaul the city's old water meter system, getting more efficient meters for customers.

Joey Jaco, the the director of engineering for the city of Columbia, says current water meters don't give you much information.

"Your meter reading is one data point a month," Jaco said.
 
That means you usually won't know you're using more water until a higher bill comes at the end of the month. Jaco says that could be about to change.
 
"Imagine knowing how much water I use a day versus how much water I use a month," Jaco said.
 
Jaco says you can with their new Advanced metering infrastructure.
 
 "it's actually tied to a network, so it's real time data that you as a customer can take advantage of," Jaco said.
 
That means more control over your usage.
 
"You might want to cut back, maybe I'm using too much water," Jaco said.
 
Jaco says it also means knowing there's an issue before you get the higher bill.
 
"If you have a line break on your property, an excessive amount of water's going through your meter, you can get a notification right after it happens," Jaco said.
 
Jaco says their goal is to have a website or app customers can use to check their usage at their leisure.
 
Melendez says this could be the answer he's looking for.
 
"I hope," Melendez says, "and I'll see, when that happens, I'll see how my water bill is."
 
Jaco says they will make this recommendation to the Columbia city council in April. If approved, they plan to start installing the new meters this fall. Jaco says it would take 3-5 years to get all the meters up and running. 

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