In November 2012, IBM awarded a Smarter Cities Challenge Grant to the City of Tucson and Tucson Water. The IBM executives will work with Tucson Water staff and key stakeholders to provide recommendations on how the utility can deliver its services more efficiently.
Two technology improvements designed to increase water reliability are proposed: one to allow customers to better monitor their water use; the other to improve the operating efficiency of Tucson Water.
Tucson Water currently replaces old water meters with Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) meters that can be read by electronic equipment carried by meter readers. This allows staff to read many more meters daily.
The new meters are also compatible with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology, which will allow water use data to be collected remotely using wireless technology. Data collected through AMI systems is accessible by customers through web, smartphones, or other technologies, and allows for constant monitoring of water use on a regular basis.
Tucson Water delivers water through a network that includes more than 4,500 miles of pipelines, 200 wells, 145 booster stations, and 55 storage facilities to over 709,000 customers in 37 water service areas. A System Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) program includes hardware and software that allows for the various elements to be monitored and controlled from a single point.