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LADWP Using Smart Meters To Catch L.A.'s Worst Water Wasters

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The L.A. Department of Water and Power is using smart meters to figure out who among us is wasting the most water—and then, perhaps, to publicly shame them.

According to Marty Adams, LADWP’s water system manager, they’ve been installing smart meters at various "strategic" locations in order to determine what residential customers are wasting the most water, City News Service reports. These smart meters will keep track of excessive water usage, which the City can then use to fine violators. If citations are issued, than the names of those water wasters could be released to us, the public, so we can excoriate them.

Without the smart meters, the City would have to rely on information from tattling neighbors and DWP water cops, Adams said. However, a lot of the biggest water wasters manage to do their water wasting in a way their neighbors can't see, such as behind a wall or other visual barrier. And, the City fines people not on how much total water is used, but based on when it’s used and for how long. These smart meters will also be able to log that information.

Some big water wasters are not deterred by fines, however. Currently, fines begin at $100 and only go up to $300, which is—pun intended—a drop in the bucket someone with a lot of money. There's currently some jerk in Bel-Air who uses 12 million gallons of water per year, enough for an entire neighborhood.

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So, Councilman Paul Koretz has suggested increasing fines by 1,000% if the water usage reaches a certain level, or simply shutting off water for consumers who exceed a cap.

Koretz said the City Council is working with the City Attorney's Office and DWP to determine if any of these options are possibilities.