Water metering can help ease California drought

The installation of water meters by all water utilities in California could result in significant water savings and could help reduce water loss, according to a new report published by the Pacific Institute.

The report, titled Metering in California, stated that more than 219,000 urban water connections remained unmetered in California and the majority of multi-family units had a single meter for all units.

The authors wrote that studies showed that metering, when coupled with effective pricing structures, reduced water use by 15 to 20 percent. Additional water savings were possible through improved management of the water system, particularly the identification and repair of leaks in the distribution system.

Map of unmetered connections in California

They concluded that water savings from metering all connections in California could result in considerable water savings as metering was an essential water management strategy, and expanding and improving metering should be a priority for all California utilities.

The report added that metering enabled utilities to use pricing to encourage water conservation and efficiency. Metering data could also be used to manage demand through non-price mechanisms. Moreover, meters could help utilities and customers identify and locate leaks and losses from the system.

Water metering, it stated, was also an important tool to help customers understand their water use in order to use the resource more efficiently. Coupled with effective pricing structures, water meters could send a price signal to customers to reduce excessive or wasteful use.

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