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Council has smart water meter success

Smart water meters have been installed throughout the Bundaberg Region as part of a trial program that has already saved money and thousands of litres of water.

The 24-month trial will see computerised water meters installed at more than 1200 properties in Gin Gin, Childers, Burnett Heads and the Bundaberg CBD.

The technology includes an online portal that Bundaberg Region Council's (BRC) water services team can access to identify leaks.

With a quick browse of the data, BRC Network Program Coordinator Geoff Tansley can see his top priorities for the day – two properties leaking more than 1500L/hour.

“To detect this leak previously, we would have had to wait six months so that we could actually verify the usage by what we read on the meter,” Tansley said.

He said the technology had already helped his team to identify an extensive list of leaks, saving property owners money and potential damage, including a business property in the Bundaberg CBD.

“This meter has a leak of about 60L/hour and the system identified it from a daily report,” Tansley said.

“This leak is actually under an asphalt surface so there is no other way of detecting it."

He said the trial had already demonstrated how it could save BRC and residents money.

“The information we get back from the meters can indicate whether or not there is a leak, so we can validate that from a desk without having to come out,” he said.

“We can notify the customers very early so they can also address the issue. They can get a plumber in and investigate further and fix the leak and save themselves some money.”

The way of the future

Taggle is one of the companies engaged to install smart water meters throughout the Bundaberg Region.

Taggle Business Development Officer Mark Halliwell said the meters work with MiWater software that is available to both the council and residents.

“Overnight and in the wee small hours of the morning there’s very little flow, if any flow, in a typical property,” Halliwell said.

“The MiWater meter data management software, which is being used with all of these meters, runs an examination over everybody’s usage overnight and picks up those zero flows.

“After a couple of days of this it alerts both the council and the resident as to the possibility of a leak.

“It can mean an awful lot of money saved.”

Halliwell said Taggle had worked with more than 30 councils and had about 135,000 meters around the country, which collect hourly data.

“In terms of infrastructure damage we have had occasions in other towns and cities where people have had water leaks underneath their houses, concealed leaks, which just erode away at the foundations of the property,” he said.

“So it’s a great opportunity for people to protect their properties.”

He said smart water meters were the way of the future.

“The old adage in management is if you’re not monitoring it you can’t manage it.

“This type of technology can help councils get a handle on what’s happening with their pipes under the ground.”

Residents participating in the trial will receive real-time water usage data and email and SMS notifications about potential leaks through the free MiWater online portal.

This story was first published on Bundaberg Now. Read the original.

Bundaberg Regional Council is a proud supporter and principal partner of National Water Week. Find out more here.