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Infrastructure upgrade project gets green light


Infrastructure upgrade project gets green light

The City of Blanco on September 19 took an important step towards the much-needed upgrade of our city’s water infrastructure by moving forward with a project to replace all the water meters in town.

This project is the culmination of extensive study and analysis by City leadership and the City’s Capital Improvement and Asset Management Advisory Committee (CIAMAC) over the last several years.  Thanks to the hard work of volunteers at CIAMAC and our own public works partner at Inframark, the City has determined that our water system loses 28% of our water supply each month. It is believed that a contributing cause of this leakage is the City’s old and dated meter technology. A large percentage of the meters are also long past their useful life. This leads not only to leakage but also to under-counting the water being consumed. (Meaning, it’s likely a lot of that lost water is actually being used – not leaked – but is not accounted for due to faulty meters).

CIAMAC and City leadership determined that replacing our very old meters with modern ones will deliver many benefits:

  • We expect to greatly reduce that 28% water loss, conserving our vital water supply and saving money.
  • Modern meters are automatically read digitally, meaning we’ll save quite a bit of manpower that currently goes to meter reading (the equivalent of a 4-person team for one week per month). This manpower can be diverted to other critical projects, like filling potholes, without impacting our budget.
  • Automatic reading, which will wirelessly interface with our new electronic system, will minimize human error and ensure more accurate billing.
  • Modern meters also have no moving parts, so they’re expected to last longer and not lose accuracy over time.
  • The process of formally auditing our existing system and then replacing the meters will provide necessary information to ensure compliance with Federal regulations. (This required data gathering would cost the city more than $100,000 otherwise.)
  • The modern, digital meters will help us better locate and fix water leaks going forward, and the process of installing them will give us a better handle on the overall infrastructure project.
  • The new meters will integrate seamlessly with our new infrastructure as it is replaced over time.
  • The meters currently under consideration are “read only” and may not be shut off remotely. With these, property owners may opt-in to adding a remote shut-off feature, which is good for residents who travel a lot and are concerned about leaks.

Our fantastic CIAMAC team, chaired by OJ Armstrong and his predecessor Mike Rieken has done a considerable amount of work over at least two years to identify the state of repair of the City’s meters and related systems, and the needed fix, and fully check out a respected contractor for this job, who specializes in doing this kind of work.

Best of all, this project will have ZERO negative impact on our budget, as it is guaranteed by the contractor to be paid for 100% out of the savings it will generate. It is also fully under warranty.


Over the next few weeks, a team will be pulling up, testing, and replacing a number of meters in town, to gain the data necessary for the final installation plan.

Then, if things proceed as expected, starting probably early next year, a work crew will replace all the meters in town. As this is a specialized crew, they should finish the entire job in just a few months.

The job of replacing each meter is quite quick, so down-time for each resident will be minimal.

The contractor we’re working with has a reputation for great customer service, meaning residents can expect full and friendly communication, heads-up, and cooperation from the crew as they’re installing the new meters.

Ultimately, we can all expect much better stewardship of our water supply, more accurate billing, and more manpower focused on other important city maintenance (like pothole filling) -- all with NO increase to our city budget.