In 2010 I.B.M. and the city of Dubuque, Iowa joined forces to implement a pilot project called Dubuque 2.0. 311 families have volunteered to have Smart Water Meter installed for their homes. These meters are able to collect data ad transmit it to I.B.M’s database center every 15 minutes, after which customers will be able to view their water consumption data online in real time.
Before Smart Water Meters, there was no available system that allowed families to closely monitor their water consumption in real time. Usually households receive their water bills every quarter, therefore if there were any unusual spikes in the water consumption, they were not able to catch it immediately. Consequently, it could take a family as much as a few months to discover leaks.
The proponents of this pilot argue that once these meters are in place throughout the city, it would be very easy and quick for the city to discover possible upcoming problems and address them before they become too big and costly.
The Smart Water Meters appeared in California in 2008, but people soon started complaining that their utility bills actually increased. The Smart Meter proponents argued that the hike in the utility bills were not due to the meters, but to the extensive heat waves that coincided with the installation of the meters. Soon after however, people started to complain that the Smart Water Meters emitted electromagnetic frequencies, and people’s health started to be effected by it. Although, Smart Water Meters have been certified by the FCC, California residents demanded that the meters be banned.
Meanwhile, New York City is moving full speed with installing the meters all over the city. Although for the last couple of years the Smart Water Meter installation rates have declined dramatically, It is expected that the Smart Water Meter industry will reach $2 billion by 2020.