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NYC to Begin Tracking Water Use in Real Time With Wireless Meters

NYC water tower

Smart energy meters can help us conserve energy, sure, but what about water? As anyone suffering through a heat wave knows, water conservation can be just a crucial as power to keeping a city running. Beginning this week, residents of the Bronx will have detailed access to the minutiae of their water use courtesy of a real-time, online water use and bill tracking system.

The tool is available thanks to a $252 million citywide upgrade of the water-meter system. The upgrade also includes a switch to wireless water meters that provide more precise readings. So far 834,000 customers have the wireless meters, and the city expects to have its online water use tool available to all of them by September, according to The New York Times.

NYC’s tool will help customers track water consumption more effectively, but it won’t reward customers for using water at certain times. Although tiered water pricing plans are already being used in some cities, including Seattle and Tampa, and Mayor Bloomberg says such plans aren’t outside the realm of possibility for NYC, it’s not going to be part of this program.

The smart water industry isn’t nearly as developed as the smart energy sector, where a slew of companies are scrambling to grab a piece of the market. Still, as anyone who has been stuck in an area without fresh water can tell you, water use is just as important as energy consumption. And eventually, startups and established companies alike will start paying attention.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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