As California looks at a potential fourth year of drought, the City of Sacramento is moving ahead on a project to keep closer tabs on water use.
Fewer than half have meters now.
But Bill Busath, with the Sacramento Department of Utilities, said that will change when the city finishes a three-year meter installation project.
"When we finish that three-year meter project, we will be a little over 60 percent metered in the city of Sacramento," said Busath.
Busath said the current project is in its second year and is funded with bonds the city issued last year.
Until fully metered, the city measures water use by production at municipal water facilities.
"We measure our water production as a whole throughout the city, said Busath. “It's measured out of the treatment plants, and that's how we're measuring our reduction in the city of Sacramento. It's not from the meters."
Randi Knott, with the City Manager's Office, said adding meters to many older homes would require tearing up backyards since the water mains are behind the houses.
But Knott said the city has a better idea.
"If we move the main and we put the water meter in the front we can do smart metering, it reduces emissions, because when our folks drive by and read those smart meters they don't have to get out of their vehicle,” said Knott. “There's so many good reasons to do it and do it right, that it is a little more expensive and taking a little longer."
The City of Sacramento has until 2025 to meet a legislative mandate that all 136,000 of its residences have water meters.