Smart water meters rolled out across Auckland
To better manage water usage across the city of Auckland, Watercare has started rolling out smart loggers on water meters for commercial premises. This is designed to also save on manual reads and improve billing accuracy for commercial premises.
The project is part of a service solution designed by Spark IoT that includes a device and SIM management platform that makes device and data management easier. Currently, 3300 water meters have been logged and connected on the Spark NB-IoT network to provide usage information to Watercare, with an additional 2500 meters to be logged.
Nish Dogra, Watercare’s Smart Network Lead, said this technology could improve water management across New Zealand.
Dogra said water is one of the most undervalued resources, and it is vital to give more consideration towards how it is sourced, treated and distributed. In these processes, technology is a key enabler and the smart meters being rolled out can help with water efficiency by identifying faults and leaks to be fixed.
“The data has already helped us to identify a number of large leaks on our customers’ premises, which we’ve flagged with them so they can fix them quickly. For example, one school’s water use had skyrocketed from about 6000 litres a day to more than 70,000. There was no obvious water leaking on the grounds, but a specialist leak detection agency was called in and they found a massive leak under volcanic rock that was losing about 46 litres every minute,” Dogra said.
This helped save money for the school and save thousands of litres of water.
Watercare supplies more than 400 million litres of water to Auckland every day, drawing water from 27 sources.
“By integrating IoT technology with the water management processes, operators can be warned faster of potential process issues, detect leaks more easily and improve distribution,” Dogra said.
The new technology will play a greater role in how Watercare and its customers manage water, according to Spark’s Principal Innovation Business Development Manager, Matt McLay. This transition to a smart meter network will improve sustainability and efficiency.
McLay said the smart meters will help monitor water use efficiency, optimise billing accuracy, promote more efficient consumption and deliver maximum value to businesses. The NB-IoT network provides wide coverage and is suited to battery-powered metering systems. It is also activated across cell sites, providing coverage to about 90% of the population.
Research analysis commissioned by Spark IoT and undertaken by NERA Economic Consulting shows that water metering solutions can provide a potential net benefit of NZ$28 million in the market across a 10-year period up to 2027 from efficiencies and cost savings.
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