Victorian water retailer South East Water has seen strong early indications of benefits for the water industry and its customers through innovative digital water meter trials in Melbourne’s south east.
“We saw an opportunity to be more proactive in the identification of leaks for our customers and incorporating innovative and forward-thinking technology into our business is always at the forefront of our minds,” said South East Water Managing Director, Kevin Hutchings.
The advanced technology, initially tested in 2013, can read the volume of water that enters a property in 30 minute intervals and wirelessly transmit water consumption data to a central gateway. The data is then integrated into technology systems. Several trials are now investigating and evaluating differing technologies.
“This enhanced communication link used in the digital water meters can provide water readings in 30 minute intervals and all but eliminates the need for on-site meter readings. The greater frequency of reads generated by this new technology means that we can alert customers to any potential leaks much faster than ever before,” said Mr Hutchings.
Trialling the next generation of water meters will aid in the identification of the most efficient ways to inform customers of their water use. With over 13,000 kilometres of water pipes, it will also help to optimise the water network and focus future investment in water infrastructure where it’s needed most.
To complement the digital water meters’ functionality, some residents involved in the trials have access to an online self-service environment. Through the site, customers are able to explore their daily water use, compare water consumption to other households participating in the trials within their suburb and set water use targets.
Mr Hutchings said the new technology is an exciting prospect not only for the potential savings available to customers, but also for the transformation of the water industry into a new and innovative space.
“The digital water meter trials have demonstrated the advancement of new technology in water retailing, which is delivering value for our customers. We are very excited about the future of our digital water meters,” said Mr Hutchings.
A number of customers involved in the trials have seen positive results from the possibility of early leak detection.
A cracked galvanised pipe underneath a customer’s house was identified to be leaking 7,276 litres of water per day – this is equivalent to 61 bath tubs of water loss per day. The leak would have added several thousand dollars to the customer’s bill for the relevant quarter had it not been identified through the technology and subsequently fixed.
A defective hot water service on a customer’s property was identified to be leaking 480 litres of water per day – this is equivalent to four bath tubs of water loss per day. The leak would have added several hundred dollars to the customer’s bill for the relevant quarter had it not been detected and fixed.
SOURCE: South East Water