Gonzales taking part in utility pilot program

Charlotte Guedry
A water sensor that is part of the new Galaxy System pilot program in Gonzales.

Gonzales Public Works has recently taken part in a new pilot program aimed at increasing efficiency within the city utility division.

For the past few weeks, Gonzales has been testing a new water sensor system aimed at cutting down time spent in locating leaks or faulty water systems.

Badger Meters Galaxy System is designed to take time away from the hunting of leak origins, and allow for workers to hone in on problems quickly.

“This pilot system will read meters and the information will bounce directly to a computer system in our offices,” said Clay Stafford, City Clerk of Gonzales. “It will detect exact locations of leaks at individual residences and businesses.”

The city of Gonzales had already updated their system by using radio read meters. These meters allowed the information to be directly intercepted without readers needing to be on physical property addresses. This made it eassier to get to difficult areas.

The new system, however, replaces this, as it is equally cost efficient.

“We’ve been up and running for a few weeks now,” said Stafford. “If it continues to go well, we will want this system in place. It will take between $750,000 and one million for the entire city to be linked up, but there is a possible deal with us selling natural gas to area plants in the works that will help cover these costs.”

The new system uses transmitters to pinpoint exact locations of problems, which can save time and money within the Public Works Department.

“We’re looking for a long-term benefit for residents in terms of efficiency and savings,” said Stafford. “We can serve the city better by zeroing in on problems.”

Janet McCrory, utilities administrator agrees. “If someone questions their bill, we can now look closely at their account to see if we need to do a graft of their bill,” she said. “The system will let us know what happened with their water system, and when it happened.”

The new system reads meters throughout the day for statistical purposes, allowing employees to monitor the inner-workings on the program. By allowing this level of monitoring, the system is proving itself as it detects with speed and accuracy. If all goes well, the system will eventually be added on to.

“The aim is for this system to eventually handle our gas meters as well,” said McCrory. “This will make the reading and monitoring of all utilities much more efficient.”

“We have been watching this closely since we started,” said Stafford. “It’s been doing well, so our hope is it works out well for the entire city.”