Oceanside Receives Second $1.5M Grant to Aid $19.5M Smart Water Meter Project

The city expects to finish the project by the end of 2023, Leahy said


The city of Oceanside received its second $1.5 million award from a federal agency to aid its new smart water meter installation project, the city announced.

The city is in phase two of a three-phase project to replace all 45,000 existing water meters with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart meters, confirmed Lindsay Leahy, Principal Engineer for the project.

In total, all three phases will cost an estimated $19.5 million -- the cost of phase two is about $4.5 million, Leahy said.

The upgraded meters will provide real-time information to customers about unusual consumption patterns such as those associated with leaks and breaks, the city said.

The city also hopes to save 784 acre-feet of water annually with this infrastructure upgrade, according to a city release.

The city said the meters will also alleviate water shortage concerns during droughts and reduce its reliance on imported water. About 85 percent of its drinking water comes from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and the Colorado River, both hundreds of miles away, the city said.

The grants come from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's WaterSMART and Energy Efficiency Grants which aim to help modernize water system infrastructures.

Currently, 15 percent of the project costs will be covered by grants and the city is actively pursuing others, she said. The city plans to submit another grant application for the third and final phase of the project.

Leahy said the city will also be issuing revenue bonds to pay for the project.

On the topic of possible project problems or delays, Leahy said Oceanside has met with agencies like the city of Santa Rosa and Moulton Niguel Water and Eastern Municipal Water districts to learn about their similar projects.

"Through working with these other agencies, we have been able to incorporate their 'lessons learned' into our project scope and approach to leverage their experience," she added.

The city expects to finish the project by the end of 2023, Leahy said.

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