The City Council of Redwood City voted this week to move around some money between City funds in order to be able to purchase 7,850 "smart water meters," and switch local homes over from the old existing meters.
Though the City's Water Enterprise Fund (WEF) couldn't quite afford to float the $3 million price tag needed to purchase the 7,850 new meters, the City Council voted to "borrow" the money out of its Equipment Services Fund, used to buy and maintain City vehicles.
The City says it will pay the fund back over the next 10 years or so, and expects to have the loan completely paid off by the end of 2023.
The smart water meter program has been ongoing for a while, being funded by a $300,000 federal grant given to the City by the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, according to Terence Kyaw, the City's assistant public works director. That is why some homes received a brand-new smart water meter as recently as two weeks ago.
However, "The grant money is running out, so we are now needing to borrow money from within the City to keep it going," Kyaw told Patch.
What are the advantages of smart water meters, over the older existing ones?
According to the City, switching more homes over to smart water meters will save money, save man-hours, and streamline water-usage data to make it more efficient.
The City's staff report reads, "The new water meters use radio waves to send hourly meter readings directly to an antenna and then transmit the data to the City via an internet connection."
"Automated e-mail notifications can be sent to customers to notify them of water use in excess of more than 5 percent of their allotment, and in near real-time in the event of a water leak."
The City estimates it will save roughly $100,000 per year with the new meters, especially since they don't require a worker to come out to homes and manually inspect and read the meters, like the older existing ones do.
PATCH WANTS TO KNOW - What do you think of the idea of switching residents over to smart water meters? Tell us in the comments below.
Stay up-to-date on City news such as this - follow Patch!
- Sign up for Redwood City-Woodside Patch’s daily newsletter
- "Like” us on Facebook
- "Follow” us on Twitter
Want to share your opinions with the communities of Redwood City and Woodside? Start your own blog here.