Managing a water system as efficiently as possible has always been top priority for Mike Alvord, director of operations for the Newhall County Water District. Yet with California’s deep drought entering its fourth year, overseeing Newhall’s water system has become about much more than cost efficiency. Water conservation has become extremely important, explained Alvord, as well as the ability to accurately monitor how much water is being used.
Alvord’s team has enlisted a powerful ally in the effort to operate the most efficient and effective water system possible: Master Meter Octave ultrasonic meters.
Measuring ‘Every Last Drop’
Master Meter Octave meters offer a compelling value proposition. They are easier to install and maintain than traditional mechanical meters, are extremely durable, and are highly effective at consistently measuring low and high flows in a wide range of situations.
Newhall’s initial experience with the Octave meters occurred in 2011. At the time, a turbine meter that serviced about 400 modular single-family homes required frequent maintenance, and replacement parts were getting harder to come by. Knowing that the meter also was not effectively registering low-flow uses, Newhall opted to replace the meter with an 8-inch Octave.
The results were impressive. In the first year, revenue increased by $52,000, with a 39 percent increase in consumption registered on just one meter.
“The way we looked at it, we are simply measuring the amount of water we were unable to measure before,” Alvord said. “These meters not only help the bottom line in terms of annual revenue increase, they are also tracking every single last drop that goes through your system.”
Building on Success
Encouraged by the results from the first installations, Newhall moved forward with a program to replace meters that were deemed beyond repair, or those that clearly were not tracking usage accurately. For instance, in April 2012 an Octave was installed at an apartment complex where the need to effectively measure low flows was acute. “Because it is almost entirely inside uses, you really need to measure every single drop that goes through there,” Alvord said. Within a short time after installing the Octave, it became clear that plenty of water had been averting detection with the old metering system. Over the course of one year, Newhall recorded a 47 percent spike in consumption from the apartments, and generated a $48,000 increase in annual revenue.
All told, nine Octave meters have been installed between 2011 and 2013. While some of those meters do not service as large a customer base as the first two meters, the total annual increase in revenue from the other seven meters was $31,000, and a 41 percent increase in consumption was measured.
Not only has the installation of the Octave meters boosted revenues and facilitated more accurate metering, it has reduced maintenance and repair costs. “The guys on the crew love that it’s easier to install and replace if we ever have to,” Alvord said. “Also, the need for testing is significantly reduced.” As the system transitions to the Octave meters, Alvord foresees a day when Newhall will be able to discontinue its annual contracted testing program entirely, another cost and efficiency savings.
Indeed, the Octave meters have made life easier for Mike Alvord and his team as they work to operate as efficiently as possible in drought-riddled California. “The Octave meters we have installed have already paid for themselves several times over,” Alvord said. “We’ve already decided to move forward and replace our entire system with the Octave meters. It just makes sense from an economic and conservation standpoint.”
For more information about Master Meter’s Octave ultrasonic meters, visit www.mastermeter.com.