Badger Meter, Aeris Bring Cellular-Based Smart Water Meters to Santa Fe

Electric utilities have been moving toward smart metering systems for many years. As conservation becomes increasingly important, water utilities are moving toward smart metering as well.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Feb 24, 2015

California is suffering through a historic drought. The water level in Lake Mead is at only 42 percent of capacity, which not only means likely water shortages for cities and industries dependent on the Colorado River, but also reduced power generation at Hoover Dam. A new study conducted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) predicts that the changing climate means parts of the Western United States are likely to suffer from decades-long droughts during this century. As it becomes ever more precious, potable water is also going to command a higher price from ratepayers.

Water scarcity is a major reason why water utility providers are replacing analog meters with advanced metering infrastructure, which relies on various radio frequency technologies to establish two-way communication links between the meters and the utility's network. The technology also empowers utilities to monitor water usage in real or near-real time, while also providing ratepayers with tools that help them understand their water usage and employ water-saving practices.

The Badger smart water meter line
Badger Meter, a manufacturer of flow measurement and control systems, and Aeris, a provider of cellular-based machine-to-machine communication systems, are partnering to provide advanced metering to the city of Santa Fe, N.M. The city's water department is currently rolling out Badger smart water meters to its 34,000 customers (both households and businesses).

"We offer a managed solution," explains John Fillinger, Badger Meter's director of marketing. "Rather than the utility owning and operating the communications infrastructure and software, we deploy the meters and host the software. The utility does not need to buy servers or manage software updates."

At each location, Badger Meter is swapping out the old water meters for new units, which contain integrated encoders (which translate the mechanical movement in the meter into a digital format) and an Aeris cellular modem.

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