June 15, 2021
Today the American Water Works Association Water Meter Standards Committee announced that Peter Mayer, P.E., Principal of WaterDM is the recipient of the 2021 George Anderson Award. Here are the remarks Peter delivered at the event.
George Anderson Award Remarks
Members of the #380 Water Meter Standard Committee, Colleagues, and Friends:
I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. It is an award that speaks the importance of accurate water measurement and metering to the success of our great water systems; and of the importance of research, and education, continuous improvement, as well as the importance of service to the American Water Works Association and the water industry. I’m honored to be a member of this organization of dedicated water professionals who work every day to provide people with the most important substance in the world – water.
I would like to thank the AWWA for honoring me with this award and to the members of the 380 committee for selecting me. I am particularly grateful to Craig Hannah for recognizing my work and nominating me. It is truly an honor to have my name added to the list of remarkable people who have received this award over the years. I have spent my entire career working for very small consulting firms and WaterDM which I founded in 2013, is just me, one person. Participating, contributing and volunteering for AWWA has been an essential part of my entire career and remember distinctly attending my first AWWA Annual Conference (ACE) in 1995 in Anaheim where my partner and I presented results from a small residential water use study that became my thesis for my Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado.
I first started poking into water meter pits in 1994. That summer I tampered with small positive displacement meters at 13 homes in Boulder (with permission of course) and used a hall effect sensor and data logger to record flow through the meter every 10 seconds. I never imagined it would lead to a career and now this remarkable award for my contributions to water metering.
I did not know George Anderson, the Chief Engineer for Rockwell International for whom this award is named, but I am very familiar with water meters from Rockwell which became Sensus while George was there. From everything that I have heard and read, George Anderson was a generous person with his time and his talent, a true professional, and a genuine personality in the water industry. Those are all traits I admire and strive for as well in my career and in myself. My contributions to the water industry are not so much from working with meters directly, although I do that for sure with my work on the M22 meter sizing manual, but I believe my contributions to water metering are about expanding the beneficial uses of water data and information. Most of my work has focused on analyzing and explaining how people use water and applying modern technology to this challenge. This would not have been possible without the essential data that can be collected from water meters.
The measurement of water is a fundamental human act documented by the Romans and far before them. Throughout my career I have used data collected from water meters to better understand how and where water is used and to better plan and manage our water resources. I have worked with water production data from huge production meters in New York City and I have worked with monthly billed consumption data. I have spent much of my career focused on high resolution flow data for the purposes of understanding where and how water is used and for the purposes of properly sizing water meters and service lines. My work with water meter data has taken me from spider filled water meter pits all the way to the US Supreme Court where I testified as an expert witness of behalf of the State of Georgia in 2016 in the FL v. GA case that was recently settled in Georgia’s favor. It has been an amazing journey.
Nobody achieves anything great on their own and I have many people to thank for how I got here today. First off I want to thank my parents Tom and Sara Mayer and my wife Amanda Bickel. Without their love and support, none of this would have happened. I want to thank Prof. James Heaney of the University of Colorado and U. of Florida who was the first person to encourage me on this professional path and William DeOreo who was my consulting mentor and business partner at Aquacraft for 19 years. Bill first taught me how to remove the register from a Badger 25 meter to insert a sensor. I want to thank Leslie Martien, David Lewis, Matt Hayden, Mark Alexander, and many other who worked with me at Aquacraft collecting and analyzing water meter data. I want to thank Brad and Sandy Brainard and the F.S. Brainard Company for their support with Residential End Uses of Water studies. I must also thank Paul Lander of the City of Boulder, George DeJarlais of Badger Meters, Al Dietemann of Seattle Public Utilities, Dave Bracciano of Tampa Bay Water, all the folks at the Water Research Foundation, and Mary Ann Dickinson of the Alliance for Water Efficiency for their support for my work and research over the years.
I’m receiving this award largely for my work as the lead on two editions of the AWWA M22 Manual on Sizing Water Meters and Service Lines as well as ongoing research I have lead on peak instantaneous demands and maximum flows. I may have been the chief wrangler on the M22 and these research projects, but I have worked on that project with an amazing team of folks that includes Prof. Steven Buchberger, George Kunkel, Craig Hannah, Jacklyn Gorman, Mike Aaragon, Tom Walski, Dan Cole, Chris Douglas, Steve Davis, David Hughes, John Sliwa, Roger Blank, Neil Kaufman, Ken Molli, Dan Strub, Reinhard Sturm, and many many others. It takes a team to produce an AWWA manual.
Finally, I would like to thank my newest partners in water data collection, Flume. I started working with Flume in 2020 and this company has already blown my mind on multiple occasions with the water meter data they are collecting and analyzing. I can't wait to bring this new data resource to bear on some of the meter sizing questions we have been looking at with the M22. The future of water metering is in the continued accurate and reliable measurement of water for billing purposes and the expanded use of meter data to address a wide variety of water utility questions and problems. The water meter remains as ever, a quiet but absolutely essential, foundational component of the water utility.
There are many remarkable and deserving volunteers at AWWA, and I will do my best to make sure they are honored in future years. I know I am one drop in a very large reservoir. Members of the 380 Committee, thank you very much. I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. Thank you.