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Editorial: Tiny meters save H20

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New technology already installed for some Albuquerque metro area water customers has the ability to let them monitor their water use throughout the month rather than waiting for the bill to arrive.

And that technology should translate to more water conservation and lower costs for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority because the small, new battery-operated meters radio customers’ usage back to the utility’s computer system via five antenna towers.

The meters allow consumers to log onto their computers to track the data. And by using similar meters on main lines the utility can monitor consumption and system pressure in real time and react to water main breaks faster.

Over the past two years, the utility has installed the automated readers on 28 percent of the city’s meters at a cost of $4.5 million.

However, the project has been delayed because the utility doesn’t have enough money. As people have curbed their water use the past few years, revenues have declined as well. Rates were recently raised and the water board is considering more hikes so it can replace the system’s aging infrastructure. The utility’s rates are lower than many other communities in the state, including neighboring Rio Rancho.

These nifty cost-saving devices are the way of the future. Installing them throughout the system could lead to more conservation and savings down the road. And that’s good news for the drought-stricken Middle Rio Grande Valley.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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