Agua Vista FAQs
Below are some of the most common questions we’re asked about our Agua Vista portal. If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to our customer service team.
What exactly is Agua Vista, and how does it work?
Agua Vista is a web tool that you can customize to manage your water use. Track your use hourly, weekly, monthly, however you prefer. Behind the scenes, our Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is what enables us to collect your water data. A small battery-powered communications device in your meter reads your water use and transmits the data to a low-powered radio signal at a nearby collector. The collector then transmits the meter reading to our office in Carrboro. This allows water use data to be more available to you and OWASA on a daily basis and eliminates the need for someone to drive to your home to read your meter.
Why is it called “Agua Vista”?
We thought it had a nice ring, don’t you? The name “Agua Vista” is an adaptation of the Spanish translation of “water in sight.” The magnifying glass in the Agua Vista logo signifies the increased level of detail at which you will be able to view your water use trends.
How will Agua Vista benefit me?
Agua Vista grants you increased insight into your water use and provides early leak detection. Using the Agua Vista portal, you may monitor and manage your water use. Also, if you provide your phone number and email address, you can receive alerts when water-use trends indicate a leak or when they reach a certain level of consumption. We also monitor the data and will let you know if a leak is detected. This should significantly reduce high water bills and property damage due to leaks.
How do I sign on to Agua Vista?
If you already have an online account with OWASA, you can use your existing username and password. If you haven’t already set up an online account with OWASA, you will need your 14-digit account number and the ZIP code for the billing address on the account. You can find both on your OWASA bill.
How should I use Agua Vista?
You can be creative with how you use the portal, but here are a few ideas for getting started.
Pay Your Bill: The Agua Vista Web Portal is part of OWASA’s online bill payment system, so you can pay your bill quicker and easier from Agua Vista.
Track Your Water Use: Agua Vista tracks your monthly, daily, even hourly water use. Learn more about when your household or business uses water and think of ways to save. Dive in!
Take the Survey: Agua Vista estimates how you use water in your home or business and makes recommendations based on those estimates. By taking the survey, you can improve your comparisons and recommendations.
View Customized Water Conservation Tips: Agua Vista uses your historical water use and survey answers to recommend water-saving strategies that can save you money.
Update Contact Information and Establish Settings: Agua Vista can proactively notify you via email, voicemail or text if your water use exceeds certain thresholds, but it can’t do that without up-to-date contact information. Log in and enter your current contact information.
What can I do to improve the accuracy of my recommendations?
You can take a brief survey within Agua Vista to help customize water use estimates and recommendations. Agua Vista uses your historical water use and survey answers to recommend the water-saving strategies that can save you money.
Can I add a user? What can they do on the portal?
Yes! Households can add family members as users, businesses can add employees and an apartment complex can add tenants. When everyone can see water-use information, then everyone can help identify ways that they can save water. Users can track water-use data and see water conservation recommendations. Users added to Agua Vista cannot change settings or view bill payment details.
Will this change how I pay my OWASA bill?
No. Our online bill payment is integrated into Agua Vista, not replaced by it.
I paid my bill, so why does Agua Vista say the “Bill Amount” is still due?
The “Bill Amount” reflects the amount of your most recent bill. You should see your payment reflected under “Billing History.”
Who can I contact if I need help setting up my Agua Vista account?
If you need help setting up your Agua Vista account, you can contact OWASA customer service. Feel free to email us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call us during business hours at (919) 537-4343.
Have my rates increased to pay for Agua Vista?
No. As a matter of fact, based on third-party estimates, the Agua Vista project will ultimately decrease costs for both you and OWASA. Because Agua Vista is a more efficient way to read meters, we will save on operational and personnel costs. That being said, no OWASA employee will lose their job as a result of the initiative, but some jobs will change.
What if I don’t have internet access?
You will benefit from Agua Vista even if you never log into the portal. Every day, we use the system to analyze water-use data for leaks, both large and small, and proactively alert customers of these otherwise costly leaks however we can. It’s important that you contact us to set up a phone number for the system to call if it suspects you have a leak. Alternatively, our staff will be ready to individually walk customers through their water-use history by phone or with a short trip to our offices in Carrboro.
Why do I have gray bars on my water-use graphic?
Sometimes a meter is delayed in communicating with our system and readings come in one or two days late. Late reads will show up as incomplete data (i.e., gray bars) in Agua Vista. OWASA’s billing system will backfill missing data. Agua Vista does not backfill old data, so the gray bars will remain.
Why is the most recent data in Agua Vista two days old?
Water-use data in the portal is delayed two days to maintain battery charge in our meters and present a more complete water-use profile.
My meter is missing days of reads, and now I’m seeing a big spike in my water usage. I know I didn’t use that much water, so why is it saying I did?
When a meter is delayed and provides incomplete data (i.e., gray bars), that data is not missing. Instead, the system holds that incomplete consumption data and aggregates it the next time the meter successfully communicates with the system. So if any day or days show incomplete data, all the previous usage will be added to the next available read.
Agua Vista notified me about a leak…now what?
If you’re not sure what to do once you are notified and identify a leak, don’t panic. We have some steps you can follow in order to determine your next move, depending on whether you rent or own the property, your practical knowledge of plumbing and whether you can immediately afford a plumber to help. Download this resource guide to view next steps.
How will OWASA protect my Agua Vista data?
OWASA’s Agua Vista system will communicate on the FCC unlicensed frequency band using a modified spread-spectrum technology. This band of frequencies is set aside by the FCC for industrial, scientific and medical uses. It is often used for low-power, short-range consumer devices like cordless phones. The system provides multiple layers of security to prevent hacking, eavesdropping, impersonation and other network security threats. Besides, the only data being communicated are encrypted meter readings and meter identification, and no customer-identifiable information is transmitted.
Will the Agua Vista radio transmitter in my meter interfere with my television, computer, cordless phone, garage door, pacemaker or other electronic devices?
No. The technology operates at a very low-powered signal that is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) against interference. The likelihood of interference with other electronic devices is extremely low.
Will the radio waves used in the Agua Vista transmitters impact my health?
OWASA’s Agua Vista metering infrastructure will communicate in the 900MHz frequency, the same frequency used by many baby monitors and cordless telephones. The World Health Organization has found no demonstrated adverse health effects from exposure to such low-level radio frequency energy. It’s also important to keep in mind that your water meter is located well outside your house, typically at or near the curb, and radio signal strength weakens significantly as the distance between you and the source increases. To further reduce concerns, our advanced meters will only transmit messages once a day for a fraction of a second.