A water meter is required for any account that receives water service from EAWSD
District water meters are usually located in an enclosure in a utility easement adjacent to your property, typically by the street in front of your home. Meter readings are taken once a month, most often during the first three to five business days of each month, depending on staff resources and weather.
Water meters are the property of EAWSD and are kept locked at all times. Meters may only be accessed by authorized District personnel. Unauthorized access to a meter enclosure can damage equipment and break seals, which includes damage caused by the meter freezing during the winter months. If you believe there is a problem with your meter, contact the District’s Customer Service Office at (505) 466-1085, Opt. 1.
Types of Water Meter Transmitters
Although the mechanical water meters serving the District’s customers are all essentially the same, there are three different ways in which water usage information is collected: (1) Manually; (2) by radio transmitter; and (3) by cellular transmitter, using the latest BEACON® technology. As of the end of 2020, and to the extent possible, all EAWSD customer meters have been upgraded to the latest BEACON® Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) transmitters. These upgraded transmitters use radio signals to communicate with cell towers similar to the communication method used by cellular phones. There are some exceptions where manually read and radio-read meters remain in place owing to weak cellular service in certain geographic areas. If you still have a manual meter, you may notice an EAWSD truck with a driver who parks nearby and gets out to access the meter and take the reading. EAWSD encourages customers to know what type of meter system is on their property and if you are unsure, you are welcome to call the Customer Service and Billing Office for more information.
BEACON® Cellular Meters
About 96% of EAWSD customers have a cellular read transmitter at their meter. These transmitters communicate via the cloud to a designated website and require no manual reading. In some instances, where the cellular signal strength is weak, a manual read may be obtained, from time to time, for billing purposes. The cellular transmitter generates a communication signal once a day and the transmission takes seconds to upload to the cloud. EAWSD strongly encourages homeowners to register online for the EyeOnWater account so they can self-monitor their water usage and gain a greater understanding and control of their consumption patterns. The District does not have sufficient resources or staff to continuously monitor high water consumption or continuous flows for each of the District’s ~3,000 meters.
NOTE: District Policy #P17-06-02, concerning Leak Adjustments and Payments, states that if you fail to set-up your EyeOnWater account and leak alert notification, it will make you ineligible for a leak adjustment should a leak occur.
What can I expect to see with a meter that has a BEACON cellular transmitter?
BEACON cellular meters use a technology that provides updated usage information on a daily basis, which customers can access through a password-protected online account, EyeOnWater (EOW). Customers with BEACON meter transmitters are strongly encouraged to register for their EyeOnWater (EOW) account and set up a leak alert notification.
Generally, you will see more accurate readings and you’ll have the ability to self-monitor water use on a daily basis. This feature allows you to have greater control and flexibility in managing and meeting your goal if you don’t want to exceed a certain level or amount of water usage in a month.
EAWSD’s Billing and Customer Service department will provide customers with instructions to set up their EOW account. The leak alert notification allows the online program to notify you by email or text if a leak (continuous water flow over a 24-hour period) is detected.
The EyeOnWater program is supported in a mobile app for your phone or tablet, so you can have access to this information wherever you are. This is a great resource for seasonal residents.
Some customers with BEACON cellular transmitters have reported readings that they believe are higher than their old meters produced. This has to do with a device that is more sensitive than older technology. Any increases are linked directly to your water usage. If you have questions about a reading, contact the EAWSD Customer Service and Billing office at (505) 466-1085, Opt 1.
Resource links to videos that will help you better understand your EyeOnWater (EOW) account and leak alert notifications are listed below:
EyeOnWater – Overview (2:01 minutes)
EyeOnWater - Water Chart (2:12 minutes)
EyeOnWater – Leak Alerts (2:40 minutes)
EyeOnWater Mobile App Demonstration (7:01 minutes)
EyeOnWater – Help Page
Are radio-read water meters safe?
The short answer is yes. Periodically, customers have contacted the District with questions regarding the general safety of radio-read meters and those used by EAWSD. What we let them know is, the radio frequencies are far below harmful levels, and well below general daily transmissions in technology such as TVs, wireless and cell phones, as well as radios.
For a more comprehensive answer, and to learn more about how the device works, its energy output, transmission frequency, and the role that distance plays in exposure, click here.
How does EyeOnWater know that I have a leak?
Once water passes through the meter, the register records movement on the dial similar to the odometer on your car. The transmitter houses a memory chip that retains meter readings on a time-stamp schedule. When there are differences in meter readings between time-stamps, the system is detecting movement. When the series of movements happen every hour over a 24-hour period, the program generates a leak alert notification to the registered email or phone number listed on the leak alert. For this reason, EAWSD recommends setting the leak alert threshold at zero or no more than 3 gallons per hour.
If you are notified of a potential leak, EAWSD cannot advise where the leak is, nor can our staff recommend services. The EOW and leak alert notification are tools for our customers to be made aware that the meter is registering flow every hour, which is a good indicator that water was left on or that there are plumbing issues in your home. See our section on Water Leaks for more information and recommendations on troubleshooting leaks.
My monthly water use is not equal to the water use I was billed. Why?
EAWSD does not depend on the data graph for billing charges on your monthly invoice. Instead, we strive for consistency with meter readings. Our goal is to obtain a meter reading on the 1st of the month for billing. Depending on when your meter reading is communicated online, the reading may be obtained a day sooner or later.
There are some locations with moderate to poor cellular reception and this can potentially interrupt the reading from being available online. When this occurs, EAWSD will obtain a reading as early as the 28th of the prior month, or as late as the 6th of the current month for billing. Should a technician obtain a physical meter reading for billing, at that time, we will review the transmitter, register, and meter for any issues to improve the communication between the meter and EyeOnWater.
EAWSD is not responsible for additional charges incurred when a meter reading for billing purposes is obtained later than the 1st of the month. We are invested in supporting conservation efforts and reducing the costs incurred from water loss, so it is highly recommended that customers practice water conservation consistently throughout the year.
Damage and Inaccurate Readings
If your meter has been damaged or is inaccessible for some reason, an estimate based on past consumption will be made, and the problem will be remedied as quickly as possible. In rare occurrences, we will estimate your reading. Regardless, the next available meter reading will provide you with the actual usage during the estimated consumption period, and your account will be adjusted to reflect actual water usage.
If you believe your meter is not functioning properly, please contact us and we will send a technician to investigate high or low usage. Please be advised that the following charges will apply for any Special Services requested, per the current EAWSD Rate Schedule.
IMPORTANT: Other special service requests will be charged on a time and materials basis. Estimates are available from EAWSD. Neither EAWSD nor its contractors will conduct any work on the customer’s side of the water meter. Do not attempt to open the lid of a water meter enclosure on your own as you can cause damage to the meter. Fines may be levied for unauthorized access.