Water Meter Replacement & Automated Meter Reading

The City kicked off a water meter replacement project utilizing automated meter reading (AMR) technology in late June 2010. The project will eventually replace every water meter in the city. Phases 1 and 2 are now complete. Phase 3 began in October 2016 and will be completed by early 2017. Phase 4 of the project is currently being evaluated with potential start dates in late 2017 to early 2018.

About the Project

AMR includes automatic collection of consumption, diagnostic, and status data from a water meter and transfers the data to a central database for billing, troubleshooting, and analyzing. Durham's AMR system employs a mobile system for meter reading. Each electronic meter includes a small battery-powered radio unit; water meter readers have a receiver in their vehicles and as they drive by meter locations, the receiver collects meter readings transmitted by the individual meters. In Phase 1 and 2 of the project, 40,000 meters were replaced. Phase 3 of the project will replace approximately 200 1.5-inch and 2-inch commercial meters.

Electronic Meters

The electronic water meters are Neptune E-coder meters and are being installed by Vanguard Utility Services, an industry leader in the installation of residential and commercial meters. For Durham, Vanguard is providing services which include removing and cataloging old meters and installing and calibrating the new meters.


The benefits of an automated meter reading system include convenience for both the city and the customer. With AMR, meter readers can collect meter readings much quicker and more safely by simply driving by meter locations. The electronic meters will assist customers in detecting leaks and will assist utility staff in detecting malfunctioning or tampered meters. Additionally, this timely information, coupled with analysis, can help both utility staff and customers better manage the city’s potable water usage. 

As we transition to full implementation of AMR, no positions will be eliminated; staff will be reassigned to new responsibilities within the unit and department.