Smart Water Network Innovations: Getting Ahead of the Curve – Part 5

In this last post of our series on Smart Water Network Innovations, we look at the best options for future-proofing your water systems.

Conservation Compliant

One area in which Smart Meters such as Subeca’s stand head-and-shoulders above other water management solutions is in water conservation. In an article in Government Technology magazine, Thomas Kelly—strategic coordinator for the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission in Maryland, and chair of the American Water Works Association Meter Standards Committee —said, “Within the last decade, water has really come into its own as getting the recognition that it deserves for the precious resource that it is. We have more and more people putting increasing demands on the same amount of water,” he added. “And what we’ve got is what we’ve got.”

With this relatively recent recognition of water as a limited resource, and with climate change wreaking havoc on previously accepted assumptions about water availability, conservation has climbed the ladder of public perception to a prominent level it will likely hold from here on.

Public policy and governmental legislation reflect this. Though prevailing political upheaval in Washington, D.C., has thrown federal conservation policy into flux, many states are taking their own steps toward conserving natural resources.

In most such environment-related topics, California has tended to take the lead in studying, formulating and implementing pioneering legislation. The state sets the bar for standards. For this reason, those responsible for implementing such policies design them to California standards in most environmental regulation. This is usually a safe bet for nationwide compliance by developers of any related equipment or technology.

California Strong

This is the case with the Subeca Water Management System All technology integrated in the Subeca System was designed to meet California’s most recent water conservation standards, the most stringent to date.

These bills, SB 606 and AB 1668—signed into law in May of 2018, and whose regulatory standards go into effect no later than June 20, 2022—establish specific regulatory requirements for urban and agricultural water suppliers. Specifically, they call for the creation of new urban efficiency standards for indoor use, outdoor use, and water lost to leaks.

They also require urban water agencies—starting in November, 2023—to annually calculate their own objectives. Their calculations must be based on water needed in their service areas for efficient indoor and outdoor residential use, as well as commercial, industrial and institutional (CII) irrigation, and on reasonable amounts of system water loss. Highly accurate meters will be required for this, and urban water suppliers who fail to provide this information on deadline will not qualify for water grants and loans.

Urban water agencies in California are required by these bills to meet their stated water use objectives. Those failing to do so may be subject to enforcement by the State Water Board, which could issue informational orders until 2025, when they will be empowered to issue conservation orders, fines, etc.

To begin, the indoor water use standard will be 55 Gallons Per Capita Per Day (GPCD) until January, 2025. The standard will become stronger over time, decreasing to 50 GPCD in January 2030 and 45 GPCD in 2035. This usage is aggregated across population in an urban water supplier’s service area, not calculated to individual households. The outdoor use standard will be based on land cover, climate and other factors, and will be adopted by June, 2022. The water leaks standard will be set by the Board, based on prior legislation (SB 555, 2015) and will take effect by July of 2020.

Obviously, these deadlines aren’t far away, and that for the leak standard is nearly here. Municipalities would do well to specify AMioT-type smart water metering and monitoring systems sooner rather than later, to remain compliant in California. Further, with the burden inevitably on the end user to manage their water use, an AMioT solution engages and empowers that user far beyond standard AMI applications. Other states—especially those in the arid West—are sure to follow with similar legislation.

In the case of monitoring leak losses especially, there is ample motivation to stay ahead of the curve in adopting smart water management systems. This is particularly true in large agencies, where significant economies of scale can be realized, and penalties for not meeting standards are the most painful.

Knowledge Is Power

It has always been true that information is knowledge, and knowledge is power. Subeca has developed its Smart Water Management System to empower both water authorities and their customers through the use of IoT technology to increase the granularity of data to control water usage.

Though due diligence is required and no one system will be right for every agency, AMioT technology is a sound choice for many water purveyors to get and stay ahead of the curve in helping to create their own Smart City.

Subeca representatives are available to answer your questions about AMioT technology and smart water systems, and how they can help you bring your water system into the 21st century, while making sound fiscal management decisions now and into the future