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(Lawrenceville, Ga., Feb. 22, 2017) – Commissioners on Tuesday approved an agreement with CH2M Hill Engineers Inc. for the purpose of conducting a Global Cities Team Challenge: Smart Cities Pilot Project. A team of consultants and technology companies invited the Department of Water Resources to participate in the challenge, which looks at groundbreaking applications of internet technology (the “internet of things”) across a number of industrial sectors, including water.

Smart meters – meters connected to the internet – are emerging technology, and the pilot project will allow DWR to evaluate how this technology can be employed to not only provide enhanced service to customers, but also allow DWR to continue being a good steward of the environment and plan for the future.

Smart meter technology tracks water as it moves through the system, allowing utilities to find even small leaks in the system and prevent loss of water. As part of this pilot project, DWR will test different types of smart meters for reliability and accuracy.

During the technology test, the data from the Smart Cities Pilot Project may allow customers in the pilot study the ability to see their water use in real time, helping them manage their use and identify leaks or running toilets at their homes,” said Rick Reagan, Deputy Director of Business Services. “This can help the customer save money as well as conserve water.”

The data will also allow DWR to find even small leaks in the system and prevent loss of water. When compared with some other areas of the country, Gwinnett County has a young water distribution system and water loss from leaks is very small. As the system ages, water leaks could increase.  Smart meter technology is a proactive way to prepare for the future.

There is no capital investment for the County, and no obligation for further implementation at the end of the pilot project. Pilot project partners include AT&T (wireless connectivity), QualComm (communication chips in meters) and CH2M (project management).

DWR is in the process of identifying neighborhoods where the pilot could be conducted.