Automated Water Meter Monitoring & Reporting

Water Usage Reporting to Fulfill Regulatory Requirements and Extraction

The Ranch Systems software reporting feature easily captures flow data from wells and displays it in the LiveMap, spreadsheet or PDF formats. These reports can also be customized from a library of available templates, generated and emailed automatically.

Related Project: Fox Canyon Groundwater Management Agency (FCGMA) Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI)

Labor Savings and Convenience through Remote Pump Control

Labor costs are increasing, and skilled laborers are getting scarcer. Remotely turning pumps on and off, particularly in the evening or on a Sunday, will save costs and provide convenience. If desired, Ranch Systems can determine if a pump can be automated to run on schedule or demand and reduce overall farming costs as a result.

Improve Operations through Remote Automated Continuous Monitoring and Alerting

The cloud-based monitoring solution collects real-time data and makes it available through an online application accessible by Smartphone, tablet or computer. This enables Water Market Participants to automate the monitoring of flow meters in the field. Integral to the system is a powerful Alerting function that notifies users of any critical condition via text, email or phone, and can be configured for additional alerts as needed.

Accurate Support for Existing Water Meters

Most installed water meters do not have electronic output of the accurate meter value (‘odometer’). Even those with electronic output often only output ‘pulses’ which present serious compliance problems, and replacing water meters is a major extra expense. Ranch Systems’ Optical Reader solves this problem by electronically reading the meter face of virtually any existing meter and making it available online.

Frequently Asked Questions

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) General Information

What is AMI?

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is equipment that connects to (or is built into) a flow meter and allows extraction information to be wirelessly sent to a central data storage center.

Is AMI required on my well?

If your groundwater well is required to have a meter, then it is required to have AMI. The deadlines to install AMI are as follows:

  • Agricultural wells: December 31, 2018
  • M & I wells: October 1, 2019
  • All other metered wells: October 1, 2020

Is there an incentive available to subsidize the cost of AMI equipment?

An incentive program is available for agricultural wells that are in compliance with all FCGMA regulations, including current flow meter calibration, and have no outstanding surcharges, unpaid fees, or fines. Well owners/operators wishing to take advantage of the incentive must use Ranch Systems as their vendor. Incentive amounts vary depending on whether Water Market participation is selected and the order that the AMI/Water Market incentive application is received. Incentive amounts are greater for Water Market participants and early applicants.

To review your well’s compliance status please log into FCGMA Online.

Can I use an AMI vendor other than Ranch Systems?

Yes. Well owners and operators are free to use any AMI vendor of their choosing, as long as the equipment meets the technical requirements outlined in the Resolution. However, to qualify for the AMI incentive, you must use Ranch Systems.

Is there an approved vendor list?

The Agency does not have an “approved” vendor list to allow well owners and operators flexibility in choosing a vendor. Any AMI vendor can be used as long as the equipment meets the technical requirements outlined in the Resolution.

Do I still need to file semi-annual extraction statements?

The requirement to install AMI equipment does not change reporting requirements. Well owners/operators must still file their semi-annual reporting statements as before.

What if my flow meter calibration is expired?

Meter calibration must be current, whether or not you receive an AMI incentive. You will not be allowed to register for incentives or enroll in the Water Market Pilot until calibration is current.

Can I move the AMI equipment to another well?

AMI equipment obtained through the incentive program must remain with the well where it was originally installed.

Who owns the AMI equipment?

Because AMI equipment is required to remain with the original well, equipment ownership will be assigned to the well owner upon installation.

Is Water Market participation required if AMI equipment is obtained through the incentive program?

No. Water Market enrollment is voluntary and not required, but may provide a beneficial option for your business to temporarily sell your unused water allocation to another grower or buy water allocations for your use.

Ranch Systems AMI Equipment

Will I need a new flow meter to have the AMI equipment installed?

The Ranch Systems AMI package is designed to adapt to a variety of existing flow meters, provided there is an odometer display on the front face. The odometer display image is captured with a rugged outdoor camera while still allowing for visual confirmation of the flow rate. The camera allows mechanical flow meters to be retrofitted with AMI equipment. Ranch Systems AMI equipment works with flow volume totalizers, mechanical indicator totalizers, and digital indicator totalizers. Examples of compatible meter manufacturers include, but are not limited to:

  • McCrometer / McPropeller
  • Badger
  • Water Specialties
  • Netafim/Arad
  • Seametrics AG2000

What is included in a Ranch Systems AMI package?

The Ranch Systems AMI package includes a telemetry station, a flow meter optical reader (camera), a feedback sensor, and mounting pole and hardware to attach to a pipe next to the meter. The equipment is designed to be able to attach to any existing mechanical or electronic flow meter. The feedback sensor for an electric pump is a current clamp that attaches to one phase of the motor wiring. The feedback sensor for a combustion engine is a pressure transducer that measures the pressure at the wellhead. The package also includes an additional sensor to measure whether the associated well pump is running to give the user feedback if the meter has a problem.

Each telemetry unit has built in solar and battery power sufficient to sustain its operation. In situations with limited sun exposure, AC adapters can also be used and require 120V outlet.

What is the installed cost of the Ranch Systems AMI package and what will the incentive cover?

The package cost for basic AMI is $2,582.96 per well, including installation and sales tax. The incentive is intended to cover the cost of the equipment, installation, and the first year of cellular data and online access, if the total value of the incentive allows. If additional sensors or functionality are desired, an upgraded station with additional sensor ports and expansion capability is available for $3,223.46. In certain situations, additional charges may apply. Typical examples are additional fittings needed for pressure transducers, extension cables needed to reach flow meters or well heads, extension cables used to position the telemetry units in a serviceable area with adequate solar exposure, locations inaccessible by vehicle, and indoor locations where separate power supplies must be used.

Are there recurring fees to operate the Ranch Systems AMI equipment?

The annual cost for each station and associated Ranch Cloud Server access is $240.00. The cost includes equipment service calls, software maintenance, and warranty. The cost does not change with Water Market participation.

Non-Ranch Systems equipment users wishing to participate in the Water Market would incur an annual service fee of $120 solely for data hosting and management.

How does the Ranch Systems AMI package work?

The system functions by capturing an image of the flow meter odometer display and transmitting that information to the Ranch Cloud Server. A cellular telemetry station is included in each AMI package, allowing for wireless data transmission. Captured images are translated into data points, which allows for universal interfacing with any type of flow meter, including existing mechanical meters, providing a cost savings by avoiding replacement of meters. Meter data will be accessible by users from their PC or smartphone. More information can be found on Ranch Systems website.

Does the Ranch Systems AMI package require a specific output on a flowmeter?

The Ranch Systems AMI package can adapt to a variety of existing flow meters by visually reading the meter. Pulse or analog outputs are not used.

What sensors can I connect to the included telemetry station other than the included AMI sensors?

The RS130 is a basic AMI package and cannot accommodate additional sensors. Operators expecting to add additional sensors should purchase an RS300 for the initial AMI installation. The RS300 allows for additional sensors and expansion devices to be connected, such as soil moisture probes and water level sensors.

Who has access to the data?

Information access varies depending on the user’s access level. The well operator/equipment owner will have full access, while the Water Market Exchange administrator will have access to daily extractions. The Agency will be able to see a total monthly extraction and system alert notifications.

What does the process for installation entail and who can install it?

The installation process includes mounting the telemetry station, installing the flowmeter reader, and installing a feedback sensor. The type of feedback sensor is dependent on the well pump, either a pressure transducer in the nearest gauge fitting (before any valves), or a current clamp on one of the motor wires. A Ranch Systems certified technician installs all equipment.

What do I need to prepare at the site before installation?

The motor should be off and the electrical disconnect should be shut off so that it can be locked and tagged out.

Does someone from Ranch Systems need to visit the site before installation?

The site assessment may be performed remotely by completing a brief survey at the following link:

You will need your State Well ID, and a site photo (if available). Once the survey is complete, a Ranch Systems representative will contact you if a site visit is needed.

When will AMI installations be scheduled?

Ranch Systems representatives will contact eligible well operators beginning immediately.

Water Market Pilot

What is a Water Market?

The Water Market Pilot is a test market for agricultural pumpers in the Oxnard and Forebay basin where pumpers can buy additional pumping allocation or sell unused pumping allocation. Anyone enrolled in the pilot can buy or sell water allocations. The Water Market Pilot runs from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018. Offers to sell allocation and bids to buy allocation are submitted through the Ranch Systems data portal. Enrollment of participants in the market and matching of bids and offers are facilitated by a third party Exchange Administrator, California Lutheran University. The Agency may make the water market permanent beginning the next water year.

Is there a fee to enroll in the Water Market?

One-time enrollment fees are $700 for the first well and $300 for each additional well. AMI & Water Market Incentive money may be used to cover the cost of enrolling in the water market. The first 200 wells to register for AMI installation who also request participation in the water market qualify to receive up to an additional $1,000 incentive, which can be used to purchase additional AMI hardware or cover enrollment fees.

If I use another AMI vendor, can I still participate in the Water Market?

Yes, if the AMI hardware meets the technical requirements outlined in the Resolution, it will allow you to participate in the Water Market. A well owner/operator would need to transmit daily pumping data to the Ranch Systems data portal and pay a service charge of $10 per month to Ranch Systems to cover the cost of hosting your AMI data. Offers to sell allocation and bids to buy allocation will be submitted through the Ranch Systems data portal.

The following AMI system requirements must be met:

  • Third party equipment/system must meet FCGMA requirements for AMI
  • Data integration capable via an FTP site delivering a CSV file at least daily, with a file name that uniquely identifies the well (Well ID) and contains time-stamped odometer data

Am I required to conduct trading if I enroll?

No. All trades are voluntary. In addition, the financial incentives received by water market participants are paid without any strings attached. Additional incentive money will be paid whether or not a market participant chooses to buy or sell allocation.

What is my pumping allocation for the Water Market and how much can I trade?

Pilot participants receive a one-year Market Allocation equal to 100% of their total allowed pumping in 2014/15. Any unused portion may be traded in whole acre-feet. When you request enrollment in the Water Market, you will receive notification of your Market Allocation (the total allowed pumping during the period of the Pilot). Upon learning your allocation for the Pilot, you can still choose not to participate. No enrollment fees will be charged in that case.

Are there fees associated with conducting trades?

Both buyer and seller pay a fee of 2% for each trade to the Exchange Administrator for administrative costs (4% total).

If I sell all or part of my annual water allocation, does the buyer have to pump it from my well?

No. The pumping allocation will be transferred to the buyer’s well for the current water year. The buyer will pump the additional water from his/her own well.

If I buy annual water allocations, do I need to pump from the well selling the allocation?

No. The pumping allocation will be transferred to your well for the current water year. As the buyer, you will pump the additional water from your own well.

If I sell part of my allocation to another pumper, will I lose that allocation in future years?

No. Transfers of pumping allocation are temporary and only apply to the Pilot’s program period (October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018). Transfers of allocation during the Pilot will have no effect on allocations in future years.

Can I decide whom I want to buy or sell from?

All trades are anonymous.

Am I eligible to participate in the Water Market if my well was installed after the 2014/2015 water year?

It depends. If the water well used is a new installation and did not replace another water well, then the well is not eligible to participate in the Water Market. If the water well replaced another well and the replaced well was subsequently destroyed, then the replaced well must have reported extractions for the 2014/2015 water year for the new well to be eligible for the Water Market. Even if a well is not eligible for the Water Market, it may still be eligible for the AMI only incentive.

What is the Seawater Intrusion Area (SIA)?

An area designated by the Agency as subject to seawater intrusion for the purpose of the Pilot. Participants in the SIA can buy from other participants in the area, and only sell to pumpers north of the 101 highway. No transfer shall be approved that results in an increase in market allocation for an extraction facility located in the SIA area.  

What is the Pumping Trough Area (PTA)?

An area designated by the Agency as a pumping trough for the purpose of the Pilot. Participants in the PTA can buy from other participants in the area, and only sell to pumpers north of the 101 highway. No transfer shall be approved that results in an increase in market allocation for an extraction facility located in the PTA area.