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Madison Common Council passes 'Project H2O'

Published On: Jun 20 2012 07:03:39 AM CDT   Updated On: Jun 21 2012 11:51:58 AM CDT

The Madison Common Council unanimously passed "Project H2O" on Tuesday night.

This means the Madison Water Utility will install a transmitter to water meters on all homes in the city.

The transmitter on the meter will send a signal to collection sites that is similar to a cellphone. It will track a home's water use. The goal is to significantly reduce Madison's water use, officials said.

The Common Council said it will allow people to check their water use daily and get a monthly bill. It may be able to detect leaks and other water problems.

"Your meter reads, and the next day, the information will be posted." District 3 Alder, Lauren Cnare, said. "So, it's a 24-hour delay. But if you had a slumber party with 15 teenagers, like I did at my home last night, and if everybody got up and took a shower, you can say to your kid, 'Oh my gosh, look how much water we used.'"

The utility said these smart meters will not harm anyone's health. The signal sent is less than a millisecond every minute and only 1/4th the strength of a cellphone signal.

The project will begin at the end of July or early August. It will cost the city about $14 million, officials said.

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