Brookfield water customers are now able to more closely track water usage and communicate with village staff quickly through an online portal that can be accessed via an app that can be downloaded to your cellphone or desktop computer.

The MyWater Brookfield app can be downloaded to iPhones and Android devices and provides water customers with direct access to their account information, including water usage history.

Customers can check water consumption records, compare their usage to similar households in the village, receive “leak alerts” and other notifications from the village regarding the water system and communicate directly with village staff.

“The greatest benefit is the way customers can get leak alerts before they get a huge bill,” said Jessica Rovner, accounting manager for the village of Brookfield. “It also makes it a little easier to get answers from us, because we can look exactly at their [account] screen rather than not being sure what customers are asking about or seeing. We’re more on the same page.”

While alerts can’t pinpoint the source of a water leak, the alerts might be able to narrow down what was happening in the home when the spike occurred and give customers timely notice about a potential problem.

As the village replaces its inventory of decade-old remote-read water meters with a newer model – the batteries are beginning to fail on the ones installed as part of a village-wide meter replacement effort in 2006-07 – customers will be able to get hourly water usage reports.

There’s no comprehensive change-out program for the meters at this time due to the cost of replacing them – replacing all of the meters a decade ago cost more than $1 million – but meters do get changed out as they fail, said Finance Director Doug Cooper.

The app was developed by a company called Smart Utility Systems, and there’s no cost to download it. The online portal went live last week. More information can be obtained by clicking on the “My Water” button on the right hand side of the village of Brookfield’s homepage at www.brookfieldil.gov.

About 30 customers have already downloaded the app, Rovner said. The village will also be sending out information on the app in the next round of water bills.

Online payment of water bills won’t change. Customers won’t be able to pay directly through the app but will be redirected to the village’s website, where there’s a link to an online payment portal.