- The problem:
If you need to keep track of your water table, you could do what George Bachich did and use a manual bicycle pump to measure the barometric pressure of each well. George’s method is genius and inspired, but incredibly time-consuming and frustratingly manual. But individuals like George are why we created meter.me.
George Bachich is a textbook renaissance man. Contractor, pilot, musician, collector, mechanic, and author; he lets nothing go to waste, especially not his time. Several years ago, he stumbled upon the passion for accordion repairs, first as a hobby and then as a full-blown profession. George published a book based on his knowledge and experience with accordions, and frequently waxes poetic about the hauntingly beautiful music the instrument can produce. George is affronted by the treatment of the noble accordion, commonly left to gather dust in basements and garages until past the point of rejuvenation.
George taught himself how to bring accordions back to life. If something is broken, he fixes it, utilizing the materials around him to find a working solution. And he applies this same mentality (along with his passion and ingenuity) to solve the problems that come along with living in a rural California home.
George found one particularly interesting method for calculating the level of his water table—and it involved the bicycle pump you see pictured here.
Measuring water levels is vitally important when living in rural California. Groundwater levels replenish over time, but the process happens underground and is largely invisible from the surface. Rural residents know the pain of a well running dry when they least expect it and need water the most.
Residents who want to maintain healthy aquifers and groundwater levels need to know how much water they have available so they can avoid over-extraction and groundwater depletion. But this isn’t an easy thing to determine without the right set of tools, and until recently those tools were simply unavailable at a price that makes sense for rural homeowners.
So George devised his own solution. Using a bicycle pump, George devised a system that helped him measure how much water he had at a given time.
George kept track of the water level in his well using a small-diameter plastic tube running down to his solar-powered pump. Using a bicycle hand pump, George painstakingly pumped air into the top of the hose and measured the pressure, determining the height of the water table. He recorded the level semimonthly and graphed it annually to identify trends in his water levels.
Like most rural residents, George had a float switch in his water tank that alerted him if his water levels declined to a certain level. But anything more detailed or robust than that— well, George was on his own.
George’s method is ingenious to be sure, but if that sounds like a lot of complicated work to you, you’re not alone. George had to devise a complex, manual system to keep track of his home’s water levels using a process that was time-consuming and tiresome.
But then along came meter.me.
In many ways, the meter.me system works very similarly to George’s bicycle pump method. The meter.sense measures the barometric pressure of George’s well and each water tank—without any hand pumping, of course. The data is then transmitted via the meter.base (a LoRaWAN gateway) to his mobile device, where he can check water levels in real-time and review historical data to determine trends. Using the app, George can now spot issues before they spiral. Now he can act quickly, rather than wait to be alerted by an alarm when it’s too late.
Since getting meter.me, George has put down the bicycle pump so he can focus on his passion: repairing accordions. Whenever he wants to check his water levels, all he has to do is open up the meter.me app on his phone and enjoy the same accurate data he accumulated by hand for years.