Do you imagine that this might have moved forward if the billing cycle wouldn't change?
I do, in fact.
Automating processes like these has been happening in every part of both industry and government for decades. Why should we send someone out to read each individual meter when it can be automated? Once something CAN be done, it most often IS, which is unfortunate for the workers who used to do it by hand but that horse left the barn long ago. Do you want to go back to when we dialed O on our dial phones to talk to the operator?
I think monthly billing is perfectly acceptable for the majority of customers, who might well find it easier to budget for a monthly water bill than save up (obsolete concept, that) for a six-months bill.
And I still believe the new metering will allow the utility to better track and fix leaks in the water mains that are not part of someone's household plumbing, which will save a significant amount of water that is now lost in the system. Whether or not individual homeowners find useful the closer consumption tracking remains to be seen. Quite often, when data becomes available it turns out to be more useful than expected.
For now, I'm OK with your idea it's more or less a byproduct of the upgrade, but so what? I'd personally like to track all my utility usage more closely, and I already find gas and electric usage info valuable so I assume I'd find water data similar.