Want to know how much water you’re buying from the City of Evanston every day? Well now you don’t have to go down to the basement to check the meter. You can look it up online.

Water customers can now monitor their utility accounts and water usage in real time using a new free tool called Neptune IQ.

The cloud-based, online data management and reporting service allows water customers to view their daily water consumption in context with weather data, find out how much water was used during a particular day or time period, calculate their “daily water budget,” and even set up an email notification if the tool detects a leak or backflow problem.

Issues like a “running” toilet can waste more than 200 gallons of water a day, and cost customers up to $60 on their monthly bills. The new service can help customers identify such leaks.

You’ll need to have a copy of a recent water bill handy when you sign up online for the service.

The city’s water production superintendent, Kevin Lookis, notes that people with older water meters may see usage only in 100 cubic foot increments, because of limitations in the older meters. But with newer meters, users should be able to track their usage on an hourly basis.

Lookis adds that even with the older meters, users should be able to detect big changes in usage — like those caused by a leaking toilet.

He says that about 25 people signed up for the service during its first day of operation. In Dubuque, Iowa, which has been using the service for a year, he says several hundred people are signed up.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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