Fort Saskatchewan is looking at upgrading the technology used to read water meters faster than originally planned.
In May 2016, the city had a third-party look at how they could improve the process and controls related to water metering and consumption.
One of the recommendations that came from the investigation, is for the city to change the way they read water meters.
In October 2016, council approved the first phase of a $3.1 million, seven year plan to upgrade water meter infrastructure.
"It's to update our water meter infrastructure and bring in a remote tower that will basically read all the meters in Fort Saskatchewan," said the city's director of infrastructure, Richard Gagnon. "People will be able to access instantly what's happening with their water in terms of consumption and this is where technology is heading and this is where we're heading as well."
The first phase of the plan included adding 3,000 water meter transmitters that allowed utility crews to drive by in a truck and collect the data transmitted to their computer, rather than walking home to home reading each meter.
The second phase would eliminate the need for the truck as well. It's not known yet whether a second tower would be needed to reach the entire city as it continues to grow, but the goal is to have everything operational by 2021 instead of 2023.
"This program is a great improvement, from basically getting data every second month now to every month and in three or four years, it's going to be instantly," noted Gagnon.
With the project ahead of schedule, it could shave $200,000 from the original cost.
The system is anticipated to cost the city $280,000 to operate.