Badger Meter: Case Study - Bella Vista

Bella Vista, a city located in the Ozark Mountains in the far northwest corner of Arkansas, is in a beautiful setting, with rolling hills and steep hollows. For the past 50 years, the area has also been a top retirement destination, with its amenities overseen by the Bella Vista Property Owners Association (Bella Vista POA). Along with managing the city’s lakes, golf courses, swimming pools, trails, an RV park and campground and more, Bella Vista POA also oversees the city’s water service to 30,000 customers across 36,000 acres.

Until 2014, the association obtained accurate water measurement and billing data through a drive-by automated meter reading (AMR) system. The system required three employees driving for miles to collect readings and generate billing across its system—a process that took 20 days to complete reading nearly 14,000 water meters each month.

Not only was it operationally burdensome due to inclement weather and challenging terrain, but the drive-by AMR system also created some customer service challenges and delayed water leak detection. As the association’s population grew, reading meters across its system with drive-by AMR became even more difficult. The association sought a new approach to deliver better customer service and more accurate and scalable water meter reporting.

“Our previous drive-by reading system was reaching the end of its useful life and causing us difficulty in our monthly operations,” said Charlie Holt, water operations manager for Bella Vista POA. “We wanted a more efficient way to read meters that would simplify our operations and give us real-time water consumption data.”