As the state experiences a worsening drought, Cal Water has installed the last of 217 water meters, converting all flat-rate customer accounts in Selma to metered accounts to aid conservation efforts. State law requires all water providers to convert flat-rate water customers to metered services by 2025, but with support of the California Public Utilities Commission, Cal Water completed the project three years before the government-imposed deadline.
According to Selma Operations Manager Stuart Skogulnd, the meters are expected to encourage water conservation and contribute to the community’s efforts to reduce per capita daily water consumption. To get a better understanding of the actual water savings that meters would bring, Cal Water partnered with the San Jose State University Research Foundation in 2014 and issued a report titled, “Residential Water Demand Analysis Due to Meter Installation.” The study found that when flat-rate customers in nearby Visalia, Calif., were switched to meters, there was an average long-term savings of 17%. According to Skoglund, the utility expects to have similar results in Selma.
“We believe that customers can better monitor their water usage and control their bills when they have meters, and we have already seen a decrease in water use due to the conversions,” Skoglund said. “Between the savings from the metering and our robust conservation programs, we are prepared to comply with state requirements and meet our drought water-use reduction targets.”
Cal Water serves about 26,100 people through 6,500 service connections in Selma and about two million people through 494,500 service connections in California. The utility has provided water service in the area since 1962.