Texas municipality, Xylem get resilient against winter weather

When a severe winter storm encroached the state of Texas in February 2021, many residents were left without power, heat and water. As temperatures dropped below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, Texas entered a state of emergency and its water infrastructure was compromised. However, the City of Jacksonville, Texas quickly restored water service for its more than 5,000 residents with the help of its smart utility network from Sensus, a Xylem brand.

Using Sensus’ ally water meter and its two-way FlexNet communication network, Jacksonville utilities was able to identify damage, respond to its customers and repair its infrastructure in the span of just 72 hours.

“Without a shadow of a doubt, the system we installed saved us millions of gallons of water,” said former Jacksonville City Manager Greg Smith. “It certainly turned out to be one of the biggest advantages we had during the storm.”

The utility team was able to remotely identify pressure points around the city and isolate water main and service line breaks. They identified and addressed approximately 65 issues—half of which were discovered by data from the smart water meters.

“Once we located and turned off the largest leak, we were able to get pressure back,” said Smith. “Without the pressure data we would not have been able to respond or isolate leaks as quickly as we did.”

Not only did the smart utility network allow for near real-time response to residents and business owners of Jacksonville, but once the city began to thaw, the system’s data helped resume normal water service.

Just two years prior to the winter emergency, the City of Jacksonville upgraded its meters, which were all nearing their 20-year life span. While the purpose of the system upgrade was not initially set to address storm resilience, the remotely managed network more than proved its value in the face of inclement weather.

“Without the Xylem system, the entire city could have been without water, and our response would have been totally different,” said Smith. “The system paid for itself in just that one week.”

To learn more about how smart technology helped the City of Jacksonville endure severe winter weather conditions, read Xylem’s full case study.

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