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New Braunfels Utilities - Customer Leak Awareness Outreach Campaign

TEEA 2020 Winner: Water Conservation

The New Braunfels Utilities mission statement reads “Enhancing the quality of our community by providing innovative essential services.” As a part of this ongoing effort, NBU began implementing a five-year automated metering infrastructure (AMI) conversion program in 2016 to increase efficiency, accuracy, and water use data collection.

Along with the conversion to new, more efficient meters, new software was adopted to manage AMI data. Using hourly data received from the new meters, NBU was able to implement a customer outreach program which contacts customers whose meters reported continuous water consumption caused by potential leaks.

Alerts are generated after 48 hours of continuous water usage and are sent out via automated phone calls or text messages. Customers are encouraged to attempt to locate and fix the leaks; to assist with this, NBU customer service and environmental affairs staff are available to assist with the entire leak diagnosis process, from determining the severity of the leak to assessing the leak with a skilled resource conservation representative. NBU also educates customers through workshops, online videos, and a “Leak Detection Checklist” developed by staff.

Since the inception of leak alerts in January 2017, approximately 61,000 alerts have been sent to customers, resulting in 95% of leaks being resolved within nine days of notification. This translates to an estimated 56.8 million gallons of water and $300,000 saved over the lifetime of the program.