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SA Water pioneering accessible water meters

A seemingly small change to a residential water meter is helping SA Water tailor its services to meet the needs of its customers.

As water meters are usually hidden away at ground level, they can be difficult for customers with limited eyesight or restricted mobility to access. 

SA Water is addressing this issue by trialling an insulated box, made of recycled materials, that allows a property’s water meter to be raised to eye level.

According to SA Water General Manager of Customer Delivery Kerry Rowlands, it was Frank, a customer in his 70s, who suggested the utility investigate new ways to help elderly residents keep track of their water usage.

“Having listened to Frank’s concerns and ideas, our team has come back with this technology from the United Kingdom that allows his meter to be raised, making it easier to read,” Rowlands said.

“Frank has so far provided great feedback on his new meter, and we look forward to working with him to get as much information as we can to assess the capabilities of this trial in the future.”

The trial is part of SA Water’s Wider World project, which aims to improve water services for all customers, particularly those living with a disability or medical condition. 

This includes producing simplified water bills and reducing the use of forms in customer interactions as these can be a barrier for people with visual or cognitive disabilities.

“We want to make sure that anyone with any form of disability or mobility impairment can access services that best meet their needs,” Rowlands said.

“We estimate that there are about 100,000 of our customers who, like Frank, find it tough to easily read their meters, and this is a great example of how new technology could improve water services for everyone.”

The Wider World initiative was the subject of the Ozwater’19 Best Paper and Presentation by SA Water Customer Experience Design and Delivery Lead Dave Woodmore. Click here to read the paper.