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California governments use big data to catch water wasters

California governments use big data to catch water wasters
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The State of California has issued serious water use restrictions because of the major shortage the state is currently facing. In order to enforce those new rules, some local governments are using technology to make sure residents aren't wasting water.

In Long Beach, the Water Department is using smart meters to catch water wasters. The meters collect accurate customer usage data every few minutes and send it back to the department, so it knows where and when the infractions are occurring.

“It collects the data every five minutes, then after midnight, the cellphone that’s built in here comes on, makes one call, and calls it in to the database that we and the customer, through a password security system, have online access to their consumption,” [Long Beach Water Department General Manager Kevin] Wattier said.

If the data shows that a customer is overwatering a property, the department can send its employees out to capture more evidence of the wrongdoing.

Next page: Do the smart meters work?
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