By Jon Delano

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Unless you have your own well, every gallon of water used at home costs money, as found in your monthly water bill.

Now the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority is offering its 80,000 customers a free online option to monitor water use, thanks to the smart meters previously installed.

“They can get a good picture of their water consumption,” Julie Quigley, PWSA’s director of administration, told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Monday.

Instead of waiting for that monthly bill, this new PWSA feature allows customers to sign up online to check out water use on an hourly basis.

Quigley, who is implementing the program for PWSA, says it should save customers money.

“There are silent leaks that you cannot see or hear that do occur, and if you can take action sooner, then you’re saving yourselves money and you’re also conserving,” she said.

Customers can also set an alert to notify them when their water usage exceeds normal.

“That’ll trigger an alert to come to you via email or text so you can take some action,” she said.

And it’s not just leaks or drips or faucets that don’t shut off tightly — we all know certain people in our households who love to take very long showers.

“Most of the meters that we have in our system provide readings on an hourly basis, so you can log into the portal at any time of the day and see how much water you’ve consumed over a specific time period,” Quigley said. “So it will give you a daily snapshot as to how much water was used. So if know that you’re at work and the kids are at home because they had a snow day, then you can monitor their water usage in real time.”

PWSA hired Quigley a year ago to improve customer service.

“Regionally, I believe we are first in this area to provide this,” she said.

Again, the PWSA will roll out this special feature come mid-December.

A link to sign up is expected to be posted on pgh2o.com in the coming weeks.