Connecting Waterpeople

California Water District uses Sensus smart utility network

  • California Water District uses Sensus smart utility network
  • Eastern Municipal Water District focuses on customer service and water reuse. 

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Sensus
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Cyclical water shortages are a challenge that Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) takes seriously. As California’s sixth-largest retail water agency, they embrace the opportunity to balance water use efficiency with meeting the needs of a diverse and growing customer base.

Located in western Riverside County, California, EMWD provides water and wastewater services to nearly one million residents across a 555-square mile area. The water provider’s metering infrastructure has always gone hand-in-hand with customer service. It was a natural decision to invest in a smart utility network to streamline efficiency, promote sustainability and improve customer service across their coverage area.

EMWD deployed the two-way Sensus FlexNet® communication network, from Sensus, a Xylem brand, as part of a meter replacement program to enable remote monitoring and management. The utility now manages more than 158,000 meters, including iPERL® residential and OMNI™ commercial meters from Sensus.

“We’ve used our network to proactively help more than 54,000 customers address issues with continuous usage,” said EMWD Meter Services Manager David Gayneaux. “In addition, hourly usage data, available through EMWD’s ‘My Account’ customer portal, provides customers with the ability to self-serve and monitor their own water use. This also helps us answer day-to-day billing questions and provides customers with insights to understand their water consumption.”

The benefits of operational efficiencies—combined with the flexibility of remote meter monitoring—have proven invaluable as EMWD deals with challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic allowing their team to better adhere to social distancing requirements.

“We don’t have to deploy technicians in the field as often to respond to the needs of the community,” said Gayneaux. “Having access to accurate, real-time data allows us to answer questions and service customers without the need for an in-person visit.”

EMWD is widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading recycled water agencies. Smart technology has also benefited their recycled water customers. EMWD currently treats 45 million gallons of wastewater each day, turning it into tertiary-treated recycled water. EMWD uses 100 percent of their recycled water for beneficial reuse during normal years, about two-thirds of which is used for agricultural production. Recycled water is also used for schools, parks, golf courses and public landscaping.

“Non-residential customers in agriculture, parks and schools all rely on recycled water as a sustainable, cost-effective resource,” said Gayneaux. “Our smart water network helps us oversee the distribution of water resources and consult with customers to make sure they’re getting the best value.”

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