By Floyd S. Salser, Jr., CEO, MARS Company, and Member of the AWWA Water Meter Standards Committee
First, this is not an article about water meter types and technical issues regarding water meter selection. While meters are a big part of any discussion regarding revenue management for any water utility, this article is about the income any water purveyor expects to receive and is entitled to collect from the water delivered to their customers. We seem to be committed to finding the reason for losses, but we tend to stop our search when we find a few leaks. The fact is, revenue losses as high as 25% across the United States and Canada have been established as fact many years ago. Unless you happen to be a sales person for a particular brand, you will probably agree that modern water meters sold in the United States and Canada are mostly fully compliant with the AWWA Standards, with few minor exceptions. It is not about the meter types and their compliance with the standards or your selection of the meters you use. It is about meter maintenance and our operational practices that prevent these meters from operating at peak performance.
Hersey Meters provided in-plant training trips to their factory and one-week courses in small and large meter maintenance. Other meter manufacturers have offered their version of these training programs. Although many are geared toward the meter brand the utility is using, some of us offer training to our customers in their meter shops, and most have an open-door policy to other utilities within their area. We at MARS call it "Wearing our AWWA Hat" for a few days. Over the years, we have welcomed more and more customer service professionals into these schools, and even a few senior managers.