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The city of Granite Shoals is currently replacing an estimated 2,700 water meters with higher-tech versions that will give residents the ability to digitally monitor and manage their usage. The installation began on April 4 and should be completed by the summer, said City Manager Peggy Smith.

Officials started planning the replacement project in February 2022 after learning that AT&T was discontinuing the 3G technology used by the city’s old water meter system. The city took out a loan of about $1.2 million over 10 years to pay for a new system with 5G technology.

The new meters can transmit information in real time to a city database that water customers can access to see their usage over a period. They can set alerts to notify them when their usage goes over specific thresholds.

“We’re hoping that, maybe sometime in May, the first meters installed will have access to their metered water usage,” Smith told

Since the 3G service from AT&T was shut down in July, city staff have had to drive through town with a laptop to monitor the meters. Once the new system is installed, data transfer will be nearly instantaneous and widely available to residents.

The old system transmitted signals from the water meters to nearby towers using 3G wireless data, which would then be sent to the city’s database. The new meters will use cellular 5G technology, bypassing the need for towers and streamlining the data transfer.

The accuracy of the old system was not a problem, Smith said. The older meters were at least 95 percent accurate, which she said is above the acceptable municipal standard of 92 percent. The new system is expected to be even more accurate.

The 3G system was installed in 2015. That technology was first introduced in 2001 and followed by 4G technology in 2009. The 5G system was first implemented in 2018. Smith told she hopes the new system will be able to keep up with the pace of technology and can be upgraded in the future.