SYRACUSE -- The city is conducting a test program with a new radio system that reads water meters from a distance.
The system could improve the efficiency of the city's water system and, as a result, help individual households save water and money.
Mike Waite, director of public works, said the new system could provide 24/7 access to a lot of data that could identify leaks in the water system and significantly improve management of the city's water system.
During a recent city council work session, he reviewed some details of the pilot program, which has been in place for less than a month in one area of the city.
City officials have not formalized any specific radio system yet, but Waite suggested it could cost $400,000 to $1 million to install the meters.
Funding would come from the city's water maintenance fund.
Waite said the city would eventually look to have in place a program for both culinary water and secondary water use.
Any new system would include installing a small radio system in the bottom of a bucket in the culinary water systems of local residences. That radio system would transmit data to a city antenna atop City Hall, providing city officials with instant information on specific water problems or issues.
He said the information is so detailed that it could identify a leak in a resident's water system.
The new system would save time, money and water, said Waite, who added that one of its functions would be the ability to shut off water from a distance instead of requiring city crews to go to a residence to shut off the water.
"It's a huge step in modernizing and taking our water system to another level," Waite said of the program.
City Manager Bob Rice said one advantage of the program is allowing individual residents to monitor their water use and costs.