Water meter

The Role of Active Monitoring in Smart Metering
I Singh, G Hauber-Davidson
Publication Date (Web): 20 June 2017
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21139/wej.2017.022

Water security and demand management are prominent issues whilst discussing Australia’s future. Smart metering has emerged as an integral tool in this regard. It provides users with the ability to monitor their consumption patterns and avoid wastage. Significant time has been invested in exploring different types of smart metering technologies. However there has been little research on methods that will help employ these technologies to get measurable results. It is a common misconception that smart metering largely works on a ‘plug and play’ basis. This paper argues that the true benefit of smart metering lies in utilising the data obtained. Due to workload and other priorities it is hard for users to exercise diligence in doing so. This paper presents a possible solution by engaging an external party to provide that service. This is known as the Active Water Analysis, Risk and Efficiency (AWARE) service. 

Three studies were conducted to demonstrate the advantages of implementing the active monitoring service. 
Study 1 compared the water usage, amount and number of leaks at 43 supermarket stores not covered by the AWARE service vs 123 stores with AWARE. 
Study 2 compared the consumption patterns at a hospital with and without AWARE, six months apart.
Study 3 explored what was involved in ensuring the continuity of smart metering data acquisition at 90 schools. 

At the end of Study 1, it was found that: 

  • The average water use at the stores without AWARE was 170kL/month.store compared to 143kL/month.store at the stores with AWARE. 
  • The average amount of leakage found at stores without AWARE was 64kL/month.store compared to 20kL/month.store at the stores with AWARE.
  • The number of leaks at stores without AWARE was six times higher than stores with AWARE. 

 The study found that the service was saving the client $2 for every $1 invested in the program.
Study 2 found that without AWARE a leak costed a hospital $8,436. Six months previously, the hospital was covered by the AWARE service. A leak on the same meter was found and resolved within one month resulting in savings of $7,000.   
Study 3 explored issues encountered in maintaining 280 loggers at 90 schools. Cases such as vandalism, replacement of meters, among others are discussed highlighting costs and issues experienced to maintain the system. 

The three studies demonstrate that a clear ROI from smart metering can only be obtained by actively using the data collected. Employing the AWARE service described herein ensures this. By taking complete responsibility for water management, it provides organisations time and resources to focus on more important issues. It helps customers avoid bill shocks and risks of property damage. The service helps justify budget allocation towards remote monitoring technologies and boosts the organisation’s sustainability profile.  Allocating resources for the active management of data collected is essential to achieve the savings and risk reductions possible from smart metering.


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