Water meters must be properly sized in accordance with the actual customer consumption patterns in order to accurately register the flows at all levels of consumption. Historically, water utilities sized customer service connections and meters based upon the peak flow rates that the meter was expected to encounter. Since peak flows occur only on rare occasions, most of the time meters sized in this manner registered flows in the low end of their design range. Many meter types are less accurate in the low end of their flow range with very low flows not captured at all. Current wisdom focuses on sizing the meter to accurately capture the flow range most usually encountered, not seldom-occurring peak flows. Many water utilities have recovered considerable water and revenue by right-sizing oversized customer meters. Between 1990 and 1992, for example, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission's meter downsizing program recovered over 100,000 cubic feet of additional water per day in apparent water loss, which translated into millions of dollars in subsequent additional billings and revenue.3
Data-logging technology and fixed network AMR technology (discussed in Chap. 13) provide the means to obtain detailed customer consumption profiles in increments of minutes or hours for periods of days, weeks, or months. By using this detailed data, meters can be sized to fit the individual consumption profiles of customers. Applying this user-specific approach can promote superior meter accuracy, particularly in large water utilities with widely varying user classes. As described in the AWWA M22 publication Sizing Water Service Lines and Meters, accurate data-logging for meter sizing is dependent on the resolution of the data.4 Data resolution is a function of the water volume per pulse logged and the data storage interval. Both should be as small as possible so that actual flow rates are recorded, as opposed to just a collection of average flow rates, which may not accurately reflect the consumption profile. Examples of
Targeting meter rotations based upon cumulative measured volume is similar to automobile maintenance, where the 3,000 mi oil and filter change occurs not at any set time, but only when the 3,000 mi odometer reading is reached.
344.70 306.40 268.10
Waterford MUA (Colgate Drive)
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