This past Monday, New York City’s Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway initiated a city-wide tracking system that will help consumers and businesses monitor their water usage in real time. The program began this past March, with 380,000 water customers in Queens already able to access their usage data on the internet. By January of 2012, the equipment installations will be completed with a network of nearly a million customers linked into the metering program.
The $252 million upgrade includes the installation of small, low-power radio transmitters connected to individual water meters that will send data to dispersed rooftop receivers. Although the cost is steep, it is offset by eliminating the hefty expense of a contracted meter reading company. The spending is part of the $21 billion that the city’s government has committed to water conservation projects.
The web tracking tools for customers will provide information on the dollar value of the water they have used, in addition to past usage, billing, and payment information. The data is transmitted four times per day from households, and hourly for larger buildings. This high frequency of monitoring will help users to evaluate what time of day they use most water, strategize ways to conserve water, and will also help detect leaks if there is high fluctuation in the usage. Mayor Bloomber says that “by providing homeowners and business with real-time access to their water bills, we’ve giving New Yorkers access to information they’ve never had before, so they can analyze their water consumption and target savings.”
The installations in Queens are scheduled to be completed next week, and the remaining boroughs will be on a rolling schedule throughout the next year. More information on the program schedule and details of the free installation can be found on the New York City’s government website.