The Lower Colorado River Authority awarded a $100,000 grant to the Travis County Water Control and Improvement District No. 17 that will be used to install a new metering system in an effort to better monitor and conserve water resources.

Approximately 12,800 new meters will be installed in the area, allowing for water usage to be monitored in real time, upgrading from the existing meters that monitor water usage monthly, according to an LCRA press release from Feb. 16.

The advanced meters will also allow for the setting up of alerts that will warn district staff and customers of potential leaks via an online portal.

“More often than not, the worst leaks are the ones that can’t be seen—a toilet, a faucet, faulty irrigation,” said Joseph Kunz, Travis County WCID No. 17’s operations manager, in the release. “You don’t know about that leak until you get your bill at the end of the month, and by the time we’re notified and have made the repair, 45 days have gone by. Now we’ll be able to catch and clean up those leaks much faster.”

In an effort to promote conservation and lower costs for customers, the online portal will also analyze water usage patterns and alert customers of high water usage. Customers will be able to track their water usage by the hour and set water usage limits via the online portal.

“The new metering system can provide advanced notice—telling the district or water users, ‘Hey, your water use is way higher than usual,’” said John Hoffman, LCRA executive vice president of water. “Imagine how much water and money can be saved if you detect a leak in two days rather than a month. That’s good for pocketbooks and for our water supply, and is an excellent example of responsible water management. We’re in a serious drought, and it’s important for all of us to use water efficiently and stop water waste.”

Travis County WCID No. 17 officials estimated 34.9 million gallons of water will be saved annually with the new metering system, saving approximately $331,000 over the system’s projected 20-year lifespan.

Jason Homan, general manager for Travis County WCID No. 17, said the grant will assist in the installation of the new advanced metering system.

“This program is a shining example of LCRA’s commitment to helping the community prioritize water conservation in their day-to-day use of this precious natural resource,” Homan said.