Capturing water meter readings to improve estimated water usage

I just wrote this article and had an idea:

What if you asked people (as an optional step) to enter in their water meter reading before and after each zone test during setup? You could tell the user that if they do this additional step, Rachio could more accurately estimate water usage in gallons.

You could provide some instructions on how to read your water meter with common examples (pictures), tell people to make sure they aren’t using any water in the house when running their test, and then run the test for 5-10 minutes and have the user enter in the starting/ending number from their meter. Then if my formula in my article is right (I hope it is, if not please correct me), then you could calculate the area setting automatically using the estimated nozzle rate of the head type selected. I think the test needs to run at least 5 minutes so enough of water goes through the zone to get an accurate reading from the meter.

By doing this, you can more accurately calculate area. Then you could display both time and estimated gallons usage on the home page, instead of just one or the other.

A catch cup wizard to guide the user through doing a catch cup test would be awesome. If you could build my article into a catch cup wizard, you could easily ask user for water meter readings there, too. All you need to do is run through the zones, have the user enter the catch cup data (ml and throat area of catch cup) and then you can accurately calculate efficiency, nozzle inches/hour, and area for each zone.

Finally, if the user manually changes the nozzle rate or area, they should be warned to do a catch cup test or the system could recalculate area based upon the adjusted nozzle rate and the original water meter usage readings during setup to recalculate area so estimated gallons is accurate.

Honestly, now that I think about it, by just having the initial water meter start and end readings from the initial test, assuming the zone doesn’t change, you could hide area from the user completely. It’s really irrelevant - you just need one accurate water meter reading running a zone for a fixed period of time to know how much water a zone uses every minute to estimate water usage.

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And actually after thinking about it, if you just let us enter how many gallons per minute a zone uses, you could use that instead. Of course you’d still get that from your water meter readings, but if we could just enter that and use that for estimates water usage instead, then no need to calculate area.

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I just received my water bill and found out that we must have a water leak. I eliminated the house and focused on the irrigation. There was no noticeable leak. I then ran each zone for 5 min and read the water meter. This led me to find one of our smaller zones was using 50% more water/minute than any other zone including our grass. I finally did find the underground leak in that zone. I now have the actual water usage by minute for each zone. I would also like to be able to update my system to reflect the actual water usage for each zone.
I dont see any response to this post on how to do this. Is there a way?


If you read my other article: Accurately Configuring Rachio Advanced Settings and Estimating Gallons Used

You’ll see how I configured Rachio to estimate water usage per zone correctly.

Thanks for all the hardwork!! Still would be nice if Rachio just let us enter the actual gal/min