SAWS to install electronic meters for 600,000 customers to reduce water use, detect leaks

Installations will start in mid-2022 and last through 2026

The San Antonio Water System meters in your home or business will be getting an upgrade in the future.

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Water System will install new electronic meters for customers over the next few years in order to help them better understand and control their water use, the utility said.

The SAWS Board of Trustees approved the ConnectH2O meter program on Tuesday, and the installations will begin in mid-2022.

“This won’t be driving our rate increase, because it’s been built into our budget ahead,” Marty Martinez, senior director of customer service said.

The meters will transmit hourly readings to SAWS, and that data will be used for bills or to trigger alerts for high water use. Customers will be able to review the water use online.

SAWS said a pilot program tested the electronic meters in 2,500 homes and businesses. For 442 customers, the new meters helped alert them to possible continuous leaks.

“We’ll be able to reach out to our customers and alert them and maybe have a conversation and try to save them some damage or lost water so that the benefits are quite substantial to the program,” Martinez said.

SAWS is slated to install 600,000 meters for customers in the service area through 2026. The new electronic meters use batteries that will send signals three times a day to the same wireless network as CPS Energy, instead of a having a SAWS crew member manually reading meters monthly.

“Most of the major cities have started to either they’ve already deployed partially or they’re in the process of deploying now,” Martinez said. “So this is pretty much the way of the future.”

The total cost is $215 million.

“This investment in technology is a tremendous step for SAWS and will help us become even more cost efficient,” Board Chairwoman Jelynne LeBlanc Jamison said in a news release. “Not only will customers have more tools to control their bills, but we’ll be able to reduce lost water, helping us meet ambitious water conservation goals that ensure plentiful water supplies for our growing city.”

The electronic meters will not need to be replaced as often as traditional meters, SAWS said.

For more information about this new program read here.

About the Authors:

Rebecca Salinas joined KSAT in the fall of 2019. Her skills include content management, engagement and reporting.

Sarah Acosta is a weekend Good Morning San Antonio anchor and a general assignments reporter at KSAT12. She joined the news team in April 2018 as a morning reporter for GMSA and is a native South Texan.