The goal for most smart city applications is to improve liveability, optimise city functions, promote economic growth and improve sustainability – with the idea that by using smart technology and data analysis, the quality of life for citizens is improved. So what better focus for digitisation than the most precious resource councils have? Water.
The availability of safe and accessible water is a resource many Australians take for granted, but managing its source, treatment and distribution is a challenging and expensive task.
Due to this, smart water metering solutions are gaining popularity from councils and utilities alike, to help track and detect usage and leaks with regular updates, and allow customers to access their own water usage data easily.
Fast data for councils and locals
Taggle Systems smart water metering solutions provide a council or water utility with hourly consumption data from every single household, business, and council property, delivering powerful data for both the corporation and the consumer.
Part of the solution is the customer portal, which educates the community and local businesses about their water usage, helping the consumer to understand exactly how much water they are using and when.
The hope is that if behaviour is wasteful, the data may compel customers to modify their usage.
Another major benefit of smart water metering is finding leaks, because a concealed leak can drive up consumer bills and result in high costs to council to resolve and provide a rebate.
Early warning of leaks will also help avoid the additional costs caused by water damage to the property – with an early warning a huge win for both council and the consumer. Even small leaks add up to significant losses across the water network.
In Douglas Shire Council for example, which has recently completed stage one of its smart water program, including just 900 smart meters, has already reduced water leaks by 200KL per day – equalling a saving of around five backyard swimming pools.
The Council is now moving onto stage two following its success in reducing wasted water.
During a drought, any reduction in wasted water will prolong the time before restrictions are introduced. Identifying leaks and educating the community so that they can make informed decisions on how, and when, to use water, will also greatly impact the quality of life of the community and ensure improved economic stability during a drought.
The insights provided by the smart meter data can also inform planning alterations to the network or understand where and when the demand is. A utility can plan the capacity of the pipe network, enabling efficient pipe sizing, and better manage pressure so it is optimised based on time of day.
Reduce non-revenue water
A council or utility embracing smart water technology will also decrease its non-revenue water significantly, with Taggle seeing non-revenue water reductions of over 50 per cent through the use of its technology. Smart metering also reduces water theft, making billing more accurate and timelier.
As Australia moves towards digital utilities, with multiple existing systems already in place such as SCADA, billing and CRM, it is beneficial for data to be integrated across existing workflows and business processes to improve efficiency.
Water is essential for life, and while smart parking, bins and lighting improve liveability – water security has much more of an impact.
Smart metering solutions encourage the effective use of one of the country’s most precious resources, and engages with the community in a meaningful way.
This article was first published in Council Magazine
To learn more about smart water metering click here