Yakima switching to wireless water meters

Yakima switching to wireless water meters »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- For decades Yakima has operated on a standard water meter system. A city worker physically checks your meter once-a-month.

But soon, that method will be out-the-window. Instead, a digital signal from your house will tell the city exactly how much water you’re using.
Terra Donaldson says getting rid of the old system will be fewer headaches for her middle-aged father.

"Without people coming to the property, without the dog barking, without him worrying about things he doesn't need to worry about,” Terra said.

City water officials say over the next year workers will install 19,000 digital meters on Yakima homes. Those meters will send a report to city antennas. Workers will no longer need to physically check meters, saving taxpayers from paying at least 400 man-hours a month.

"Any time you save money and you can put it into other things that you don't need to waste that money on, and benefit people to become more efficient, of course it's going to be better,” Terra said.

The city says the new system will also catch water leaks in your home much quicker. In fact, the digital signal can detect if there's a leak in your home with a simple phone call. City workers say with current system, some property owners have had leaks for up to four months without realizing.

And the new system will allow you to check exactly how much water you’re using right from your home or even your cell phone. It will also allow you to make monthly goals to cut back on your water bill, if you wanted to.

The new water system will cost about $5 million. Utility officials say they already have the cost paid for with money from previous years.

“I'm all about being as green as I can. Not so much my yard, but if I can save water, If I can save money, time, and that can go into something else, that's going to better for me,” Terra said.

City officials say they'll start the installation process once they get their radio signal from the FCC.

You can expect to receive information about the new meters in the mail.