Washington City saves 87M gallons of water with smart meters; new officers sworn in

WASHINGTON CITY — The city’s new Advanced Metering Infrastructure water meters, known in the industry as AMI meters, will go down in the record books, Washington City Mayor Kress Staheli told the City Council on Wednesday.

Councilman Kurt Ivie is greeted by Mayor Kress Staheli during a swearing-in ceremony in Washington City, Utah, Jan. 2, 2023 | Photo courtesy of David Woodcock, St. George News

Washington City became the first city in the state of Utah to convert to and install the environmentally friendly water metering systems in residential homes.

“Washington City is the first in the state to be 100% smart,” Staheli said, referring to the AMI meters. “This is a pretty big deal.”

AMI meters can prevent days or months of unnoticed leaks using sensors that transmit signals to base stations for detection, Washington City Public Works Director Blake Fonnesbeck said.

City employees began replacing meters in 2023 and compiled one year’s worth of data to show the council, he added. From April 2023 to April 2024, Washington City experienced a significant drop in active leaks — from 476 to 187 — saving more than 87 million gallons of city water.

For perspective, Fonnesbeck said the amount of city water saved in the first year of the program could provide 454 homes with water for one year.

“And this is just with the residential,” he said. “As we go into replacing the commercial meters throughout the town, we will have another jump in that sense, (the meters) will find more leaks.”

L-R: Officers Everest Alegria-Gamez, Austin Kruger and Ethan Metcalf are sworn in by Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams at City Council in Washington City, Utah, May 22, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Jordan Hess, St. George News

Public safety

Washington City Police Chief Jason Williams administered the oath of office for public safety employees while introducing the city’s three newest police officers, Everest Alegria-Gamez, Austin Kruger and Ethan Metcalf.

Metcalf is joining the Police Department with previous experience after working at Utah Tech University Police Department. A graduate of Dixie High School, he once went on a ride-along with a cop to fulfill a school assignment.

“I went on the ride-along and I got home and told my mom, right after I got home,” Metcalf said. “I’m like, ‘I know what I’m going to do.’”

Kruger took the podium next to address the council, saying he recently switched careers from operating a 28-foot fishing vessel in Alaska. Raised in northern Utah, he noted he has always respected law enforcement.

“I grew up in a community that was pro-police,” Kruger said. “In my scouting program, I had several leaders that were on the force.”

L-R: Washington City Manager Jeremy Redd, Councilman Kurt Ivie and Councilwoman Kimberly Casperson, officers Austin Kruger and Ethan Metcalf, Mayor Kress Staheli, Police Chief Jason Williams, officer Everest Alegria-Gamez and councilmen Craig Coats, Bret Henderson and Troy Belliston pose at city council in Washington City, Utah, May 22, 2024 | Photo courtesy of Jordan Hess, St. George News

Alegria-Gamez told the council he was raised a first generation American by parents from El Salvador.

“The reason I chose Washington City is because of the brotherhood,” he said. “Growing up in a big family we were always looking out for each other. So that really brought me in here.”

Williams said all three officers recently completed Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training with high scores.


Also on the agenda was approving the fiscal year 2024-2025 city budget. After adjustments to add funding for a George Washington statue, artwork for the old gymnasium renovations and landscaping near the Red Cliffs Utah Temple, an overall budget of $132 million was approved.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

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