For almost four years Holly Gates has had to physically check most of Destin's water meters, but those days will soon come to an end. Right now, Destin Water Users has 2,000 radio meters which Holly can check from the laptop in her truck.
"It's a lot better in the AC," said Gates. "We drive near the meter and we have a unit that will be in a truck that sends out a signal," explained Richard Griswold, general manager of Destin Water Users. "The signal will activate the little electronic unit which will then transmit all the meter a data all the meter numbers, everything we will need to know."
The GPS-equipped laptop also lets them know which meters did not send out information and why, such as a dead battery. Sometimes they don't even need to drive by.
"We did an experiment one time and we parked on top of the Destin bridge and read 1,000 meters in for seconds," said Griswold
Destin water users began installing these new meters about four years ago and with 7,000 meters total, Griswold says it will take about four more years to go completely radio.
Holly says she can't wait because being a meter reader has its dangers.
"Now I don't have to get out and almost get bit by snakes and all kinds bugs and get hit by dogs and stuff, but I can just drive past them."
Currently, checking Destin's water meters takes two people about three weeks. When all the new meters are put in, it will take one person a single day.