A discussion about a potential automatic meter reader opt-out program is scheduled to go before the Board of Directors Tuesday evening.
Staff will present its research so far toward creating an option for district customers who would rather stick with water usage meters that have to be read manually instead of newer ones that transmit usage data digitally.
The board directed staff on Jan. 24 to start looking into such a program after a series of concerned residents said in the months leading up to that meeting that the installation of automatic meter readers should be a choice.
As of March 2012, the district has installed approximately 9,000 underground automatic meter readers in public right of ways near homes throughout its boundaries with an overall goal of 21,000 by 2015.
So far, staff is recommending that customers should be able to opt out without having to provide a reason, but they would also lose the ability to be reimbursed by the district for water loss due to leaks, according to a staff report.
Once a decade, LVMWD customers are eligible to be reimbursed up to $1,500 worth of water they paid for on their bill, but didn't use because it leaked from faulty plumbing.
Until automatic meter reader installations began, the only way leaks could be detected was when an LVMWD employee visited meters, read them manually and noticed abnormal levels of water usage.
"We're only able right now to compare usage over a long period of time," said Carlos Reyes, the district's director of resource conservation and public outreach.
Now, with the new readers, water usage data can be transmitted every 20 minutes, significantly reducing the amount of time it would take for leaks to go undetected, Reyes said.
He said that under a new opt-out program, residents should lose the once-a-decade eligibility because it hinders the district's goal to play a role in the state's mission to trim water usage across California by 20 percent by the year 2020.
Staff will also present how other cities, such as Glendale, have gone about implementing an opt-out program.