A Low-Cost, Open Source Monitoring System for Collecting High Temporal Resolution Water Use Data on Magnetically Driven Residential Water Meters

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Jun 29;20(13):3655. doi: 10.3390/s20133655.


We present a low-cost (≈ $150) monitoring system for collecting high temporal resolution residential water use data without disrupting the operation of commonly available water meters. This system was designed for installation on top of analog, magnetically driven, positive displacement, residential water meters and can collect data at a variable time resolution interval. The system couples an Arduino Pro microcontroller board, a datalogging shield customized for this specific application, and a magnetometer sensor. The system was developed and calibrated at the Utah Water Research Laboratory and was deployed for testing on five single family residences in Logan and Providence, Utah, for a period of over 1 month. Battery life for the device was estimated to be over 5 weeks with continuous data collection at a 4 s time interval. Data collected using this system, under ideal installation conditions, was within 2% of the volume recorded by the register of the meter on which they were installed. Results from field deployments are presented to demonstrate the accuracy, functionality, and applicability of the system. Results indicate that the device is capable of collecting data at a temporal resolution sufficient for identifying individual water use events and analyzing water use at coarser temporal resolutions. This system is of special interest for water end use studies, future projections of residential water use, water infrastructure design, and for advancing our understanding of water use timing and behavior. The system's hardware design and software are open source, are available for potential reuse, and can be customized for specific research needs.

Keywords: Arduino; datalogging; high resolution data; open source; residential water use; smart metering; water end uses.