Fremantle residents trial smart water metering
Curtin and Murdoch University are conducting a smart water metering trial in Fremantle to support Western Australia’s plans for an improved water network. Up to 40 households are participating in the trial, with up to four smart water meters installed in their homes to monitor mains water, rainwater, greywater and bore water usage.
The trial, which will run until June 2019, is part of the RENeW Nexus project, supported by City of Fremantle, Water Corporation, energyOS and the Australian Government through the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.
The trial will investigate how communities adapt to using alternative water sources, including rainwater, greywater and groundwater, as well as new smart meter technology that will monitor water use.
Supplied by WaterGroup, the smart water meters are connected to Telstra’s NB-IoT network and data-viewing platform Cumulocity. Residents participating in the trial have 24/7 access to their water usage data on a water dashboard integrated with an energy dashboard offered by energyOS. Participants can use the dashboard to track their water usage from all metered sources to better understand their usage patterns and make informed decisions on their future water consumption.
WaterGroup Managing Director Guenter Hauber-Davidson said, “Up until now, the residents have only had access to their water usage information when they get their water bill every second month. In this trial, with the help of our NB-IoT-enabled smart water meter, aka the ‘NUmeter’, they have the opportunity to get up to 30-minute interval data on their water usage. This means residents can quickly identify abnormal water activity or possible leaks around their houses and get them fixed immediately, and best of all no bill shock,” he added.
Researchers at Curtin and Murdoch University are also exploring the possibilities of how smart water metering could incentivise and motivate residents to save and manage their water.
“If water utilities gave customers the opportunity to save money on a water bill by setting them a targeted water usage goal, for example, I’m sure a lot of residents would jump at the opportunity,” Hauber-Davidson said.
According to Curtin University, Fremantle residents have already started to provide feedback on their experience using the new smart water metering solution.
Curtin University Project Manager Karla Fox-Reynolds commented, “With this feedback, we look forward to gaining a greater understanding of residents’ needs and the actions necessary to achieve outcomes such as improved customer service, enhanced operational efficiency, a reduction in network losses, and to better balance supply and demand,” she said.
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