When Government Embraces Technology

I haven’t run the numbers yet, so I don’t know if this makes sense or not, but I like the innovation of the whole thing.

See, typically when a government agency is faced with a problem, they work hard, REALLY hard, at fixing the problem.  Not eliminating it.

For example, the county works hard at repairing roads, not making roads that don’t need repair.  The post office works hard at delivering mail netter, not at reducing the need to deliver mail.

And to be fair, there ARE some instances where government embraces technology.  Take the DMV for example.  You can now renew your registration and license online as oppossed to going to the office and doing it in person.


Which is why programs like innovating the water utility makes me so happy.

See, it turns out that water meters work, and they work really well.  But, because they are “dumb” devices, they have to be read by people, in person, driving from one meter to the next.

And, in typical government fashion, we have worked really REALLY hard at making people good at reading meters.

Until now:

Next month, Cary workers will begin replacing every meter served by the town’s water utility

The project, which could take up to 18 months to complete, will make Cary the first community in the Triangle to offer two-way “smart meters” to its water users.

This sounds great!

And why, do you ask, do we need smart meters?

It’s a:

…strategy to stop leaks, a silent thief that preys on unsuspecting businesses and households.

Again, sounds GREAT!  And how will it do this?

“The smart grid technology basically stays in touch with that meter on a real-time basis,” McCall said.

The hourly readings will alert utility workers if the customer is drawing water continuously – almost a sure sign of a leak. Most homes use water only in short durations.

Once the system is installed, water customers will be able to check their own water usage online to monitor their hourly utility readings.

Again, awesome.  The utility will be able to stay in touch with the system AND the users will be able to keep tabs on the amount of mater they are using on an hour by hour basis.

Any other benefits?

The new system will replace 10 meter readers, saving money on salaries, uniforms, trucks, maintenance, and 7,000 gallons of fuel a year.

Even better!  A government concerned with cost savings and SHRINKING staff..  I’m loving this more and more.

Any drawbacks?

The city government expects to benefit from the new system as well, even though it will lose revenue as leaks get fixed. One advantage: catching people who flout irrigation restrictions during a drought.

Well, okay.  Not ALL good, but if we aren’t gonna charge market rates for water, we should at least be able to monitor abuses to the system that we DO implement.

Well done Cary!

2 responses to “When Government Embraces Technology

  1. Have you been following news on the “Internet of Things”?

    • Have you been following news on the “Internet of Things”?

      Some, yes. I find it fascinating.

      This is cool:

      Very neat stuff in the coming years.

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