What is MyH2O?
MyH2O is a City of Fort Worth program that brings advanced technology to the water utility and its customers. Fort Worth is embracing these new tools for their efficiencies and business innovations.
The implementation phase of the program involves installing water meters equipped with a digital-read display and radio transmitter. The meter lids hold the radio transmission unit, which sends water usage data via a secure fixed wireless network to the utility. This eliminates the need for crews to read water meters, resulting in reduced billing errors.
The program also improves customer communication. MyH2O will soon include a customer web portal with updated online payment processing and more immediate information for our customers.
How will this benefit me?
Customers will be able to better understand and manage their water use to control their water costs through a customer portal that is expected to be available in the coming months to customers with activated new meters.
Through the online customer portal for MyH2O, customers can receive alerts when continuous flow is measured, indicating a possible leak, one of the most common causes for a high bill. We encourage you to fix these leaks. You would be surprised at the costs added to your bill even from a constantly running toilet.
Customers will be able to see their water use on an hourly basis, as well. Customers can check to make sure their irrigation systems are operating during prescribed hours on the days allowed by ordinance. If a customer has their irrigation system to run early in the morning, they will be able to check to make sure that is happening.
In some cases, high bills complaints following a meter exchange are the result of irrigation settings. Being on the portal will show you how long and how often your systems is on and if it is on during your prescribed watering days and times. Information from the portal can be particularly useful when an irrigation system resets after a power interruption.
Controlling irrigation use is one of the best ways to conserve water and reduce bills. Please see Save Fort Worth Water for lawn watering tips.
What are the benefits for the utility?
The utility benefits from having more information on when and where water use is occurring. This data will improve operational models of water flow, help evaluate design criteria for pipelines and help find areas where costly water loss may be occurring.
MyH2O provides the utility the ability to protect water quality by monitoring and responding quickly when a backflow assembly fails, which is when water on a customer’s property flows back into the public water system. This water can contain contaminants that would put the public water supply at risk.
Are there other benefits?
MyH20 is not just about conservation, the new customer portal will allow customers to do more things online, such as open or close an account.
As functionality is added, customers can decide how they want to receive alerts from the utility about water quality issues, when new bills are available, when educational programs are offered, or when their water will be off because of a main break or leak repair.
Through the portal, customers will be able to receive alerts when a certain water volume amount, set by them, is reached. This alert can help customers control water costs.
Why is my water meter being replaced?
Fort Worth routinely replaces meters because as a meter ages, it under-registers the amount of water flowing through it. As they age, the wear of components increases friction and water flowing through it is not measured accurately.
Meters that under-register create inequity for our customers. Under-registering meters create non-revenue water costs that are born by all customers. With the new, accurate meters, and the data transmitted with them, customers pay for the water they actually use and the utility and customers can know sooner if there is a problem.
Who will get these meters?
Every water customer location will get the new meter. The city currently has about 272,000 residential and commercial meters.
Can I opt-out of the program?
There is no opt out option for the new meters. The Fort Worth Water utility owns the meters, which are part of the utility’s infrastructure.
How are the new meters read?
The meters are read remotely by a radio signal sent from the meter box and delivered through a secure wireless network. It is a cost-effective solution for the utility and eliminates the need for reading water meters manually.
When will MyH2O come to my neighborhood?
The program began in mid-2019 and the installations are occurring by billing cycle. View the timeline section to see the status in your area. The adjoining image shows the location of your cycle and route information on your water bill.
Beginning in 2016, new meters were installed with new construction or when a meter needed replacing. These meters will be outfitted with a radio transmitter when meter exchanges begin in that billing cycle.
What do I need to do to prepare?
Nothing, really. Just be aware this will occur. You will be notified by mail when the prep work and exchange are about to take place. The meter exchange happens about two to three months after the meter box is prepped.
On the first visit, crews will prep the meter box by cleaning it out and installing the cap that holds the radio transmitter.
On the second visit, the exchange takes place. It takes 20 to 30 minutes and your water will be interrupted during this time. On the day of installation, a crew member will knock on your door to let you know they’ll be replacing the meter. If you can’t be without water at the moment, they can return later in the day to complete the work. Don’t worry if you’re not home, a tag will be left on your door letting you know the work has been completed.
Will the new meters cause my water bill to increase?
Possibly, and there are several reasons why.
Older meters tend to under-register the amount of water flowing through them. While your water use habits may not change, your water use registered by the meter may. If you see a higher bill immediately after the new meter exchange, and you have not changed your water use pattern, it is likely the old meter was not capturing all your water use.
In addition, the utility has discovered that some of the older water meters completely stopped registering any water use when a high level of flow was occurring, such as from an irrigation system. As a result, some residents were receiving free water.
The new meters are also better at picking up very low flows. This means small, low-flow, private plumbing leaks not detected with the old meters will be picked up by the new meters.
Fort Worth uses a tiered system for billing. The more water you use, the higher the cost for the water. It is possible to be in higher tiers in the summer months because of lawn watering and pools are being used and refilled. A customer can return to the lower tiers in the winter months when lawn water is not usually occurring.
Who will install my meter?
Fort Worth has contracted with Aqua Metric to install the meters. Aqua Metric has subcontractors clean out meter boxes, prepare the meter lids for the radio unit, install the meters, and connect and activate the radio.
View the "Preparing for a new meter" section on this page for information on the process and how to identify these workers when they are in your neighborhood .
Is my privacy safe?
Yes, your privacy is safe. MyH2O uses the most secure technology available. Only water use data is sent through a secure frequency. No personal information is collected or transmitted by the water meter.
The radio frequency is weaker than a cordless phone and will not interfere with other electronic devices in your home or business. It will not interfere with your data network.
Am I being charged for the meter?
No, the meter is a utility cost. You are not being billed for the new meter.
What's happening to the old meters?
Materials in the old meters are being recycled.
Who do I call if I have questions, concerns or notice a problem?
For any reason, please call us at 817-392-4477.
Can a meter be put in upside down or backwards?
While it is physically possible to install a water meter upside down, or backwards, both are unlikely occurrences. Water meters have a bronze “body” and a composite “register.” The meters have arrows cast into the body that point in the direction of water flow. Trained technicians install meters with the register facing upwards.
In addition, our contractor has quality control procedures in place, including taking “before” and “after” photographs of each installation. Supervisors also follow-up behind installers.
Once remote meter reading transmitters are activated, data will show any backwards flow of water through the meter. A technician can be dispatched immediately to investigate.
The new meter seems to be making noises. Is this normal?
If a customer has any concerns after the meter exchange, they should contact the water utility so staff can conduct a field investigation. Please either email water customer service at MyWaterAccount@FortWorthTexas.gov or call 817-392-8253 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding city holidays.
Water pressure seems to have changed at my home since the water meter exchange. Why has this happened and is this the city’s responsibility?
The new meters do not increase water pressure.
Pressure fluctuates throughout the day in all parts of the city. The fluctuations are primarily the result of changing storage tank water levels.
The International Plumbing Code, Fort Worth’s adopted plumbing code, requires installation of a pressure reducing valve when water pressure is too high. Determining the need for these valves along with installation and ongoing maintenance is the property owner’s responsibility.
What meters are being used?
Fort Worth selected Sensus metering solutions that are compatible with the FlexNet communication network.
Most residential customers will have Sensus SRII positive displacement meters installed. Commercial and industrial customers will receive different types and models of meters installed that are matched to expected water capacity needs and usage patterns.
The metering and communications network selection was completed following an extensive vetting process. All meters are individually tested for accuracy. All meters meet industry standards established by the American Water Works Association.
Will I be able to access the shut off valve in the meter box?
The meters are the property of the utility and should not be touched by customers.
Fort Worth’s plumbing code has always required a private shutoff separate from the meter box be installed when the home was built. Customers should use this shut off if there is a need to turn off the water to their property.
If a customer does not know the location of their cutoff valve, the utility strongly urges you to have a plumber locate it or install a shutoff valve.
Customers can call the utility to have water turned off. In an emergency, the utility can approve emergency access to the homeowner or its plumber. Even with the new meters and antennas, customers can open the box lid and access the valve.
Customers doing so should be careful not to damage the meter or the antenna. Customers will be charged for any damage.
What if I have a leak at the meter box after the meter exchange?
If there is a problem with the meter installation, Fort Worth Water wants to know. Please either email water customer service at MyWaterAccount@FortWorthTexas.gov or call 817-392-4477 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding city holidays.
We have had few leaks at the meter among the more than 100,000 meters installed to date. Our contractor does have steps in place for doing regular random quality control checks on the installations. However, if the leak is on the city side of the meter, the water did not flow through the meter and will not be reflected in the customer’s bill. If the leak is on the customer side of the meter, the utility can adjust the customer’s account for the water loss if the customer can show the leak was fixed. Click here for information on how to apply for a leak adjustment.
I’m concerned about radiofrequency emission. Is my water meter safe?
Yes, your meter is safe. The radio signal from the smart point on the meter falls well below the threshold set by the Federal Communications Commission for health and safety standards.
Worldwide experts have weighed in on potential risks with artificial electromagnetic fields caused by wireless devices. The World Health Organization has published more than 25,000 articles – none of which concludes there are any negative health consequences from exposure to low-level electromagnetic fields. The RF associated with Fort Worth’s MyH2O system certainly qualify as low level electromagnetic fields – given that the technology selection employs low voltage, battery powered transmitters that operate four to six times a day for fractions of a second each time. Furthermore, the meters are located 30 feet or more from a home and risk from RF exposure drops rapidly with distance, according to Texas’ Public Utility Commission.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the FCC and the PUC, among others, have all concluded that RF from remote read meters does not cause a health concern.
According the PUC, typical everyday devices such as cordless phone base stations and microwave ovens, located much closer to the user, cause significantly greater exposure for longer periods than remote read meters.