As most people know, technology continues to improve and propel us into the future. That can be said with pretty much everything we touch in our daily lives. With regards to the Public Utilities division, even water meters have made large strides in the past several years.
Tracking water consumption is vital because the City of Auburn Hills needs to account for as much water as possible that we purchase from the Great Lakes Water Authority. Pipe leaks, unmetered use, and operating fire hydrants are among common areas we are unable to measure water consumption. Although we need to be mindful of those areas, broken and inefficient water meters can be a huge culprit to proper water tracking and billing.
Enter ultra-sonic water meter technology. I know it sounds crazy but this technology uses the speed of sound to determine how much water is flowing through the pipe! Two signals are sent through the pipe several times a second, of which the difference in time is used to determine the amount of fluid flowing through the meter. This technology has several benefits that will help improve efficiency and save operating costs for the City. Since 2018, The American Water Works Association has approved and adopted a standard for Ultra-Sonic metering technology. This is now a proven and widely used technology that we can trust. That being said, the City has now turned to Kamstrup water metering for many of our current installations.
The 1st diagram above shows the original mechanical meter the City would have traditionally used while the 2nd diagram shows the new Kamstrup water meter the City is now installing in the field. An old 2” meter, for example, is around 25 lbs. while the new Kamstrup is around 9 lbs. The old meter has a TON of parts and moving pieces while the amount on the new Kamstrup can be counted with one hand! Ease of usage/installation, fewer points of failure, long-term flow accuracy, better warranty, and more desirable pricing has almost given us no choice but to start the deployment of these meters. For more information on Kamstrup or ultra-sonic metering technology, click here.
Jason Deman, Manager, Public Utilities Division, Department of Public Works