7 Jul 2011

How much for a irrigation water meter?

(via RM) I got this:
Commission Recommends Ag Water Measurement Regulations

The California Water Commission at its meeting June 15 recommended that the state adopt agricultural water measurement regulations.

Developed under SBX7-7 as part of the comprehensive water legislation of 2009, the proposed regulations would require accurate measurement devices on nearly all irrigation laterals and turnouts in the state, numbering more than 115,000 gates, and would require between 5% and 12% volume accuracy for delivered water. Water supplies would face a deadline of July 31, 2012, to begin measuring volumes delivered to farm and ranch customers.

At a previous water commission meeting, Department of Water Resources officials had suggested that certified volume measurement devices could cost $6,500 each and $1,200 per year for monitoring, repair and reporting.
Those numbers do not seem credible. In this post, I reported that urban "smart meters" (can be monitored in real-time) cost $400 each to install and $2 each to monitor per year.

I understand that agricultural meters are different in size and configuration, but they do not need to be that accurate (5-12% error!).

I bet a pitcher of beer that a competitive market for installing and metering ag water use would come in at 10% of DWR's prices -- $650 per meter and $120 per year of monitoring.

You up for a challenge, Mark?

Bottom Line: DWR is making up big numbers either because they want the money for themselves or want to block agricultural meters by making them look too expensive.

Addendum (Jul 2016): I don't mind buying beer for Mike or Delbert but I did say "competitive market."