Smart meters to save water, raise revenue in Durant - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Smart meters to save water, raise revenue in Durant

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DURANT, Okla. -- Conserving water has been a problem for years in Durant.

"Right now we know that there is a significant loss between what we treat and distribute versus what we actually bill for," said City Manager Tim Rundel. "When you have that wide gap, there you know that there are some obvious issues that you have to look at... or in this case, faulty or older meters."

Some of Durant's water meters are decades old.

"Once they hit five years or older you're talking about under-registering," said utility line maintenance supervisor Jay Neal.

That means a loss of revenue for the city.

But now, with the help of federal funds, there is a fix. Durant received a $1.5 million grant to install smart meters, which are more accurate and can be monitored remotely. They even detect leaks, but most importantly, they conserve water.

"I think you'll see more accurate metering," Neal said. "I think you'll see less water loss, which is a win-win for everybody involved."

The city is also expecting somewhere between an 11 and 18 percent revenue gain, and that's at the low end of estimates.

"Obviously, it's going to be enhanced revenue generated for us," Rundel explained. "We are simply not raising our rates, we're just simply going to be recouping the actual cost of the water we are distributing right now."

Using funds from the federal grant, the city will be installing around 6,000 smart meters as well as a network infrastructure to monitor them in real time.

Utility workers will begin installing the new water meters this fall.

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