Research has shown that smart metering not only has direct cost benefits, but it shows that it also improves awareness of, and action on water savings in the water industry and on an individual and national level.
As we have mentioned before, climate change is a hot topic since the start of 2022 and every industry plays their part in impacting the overall carbon footprint – good or bad.
Carbon footprint in the water treatment industry involves looking at the energy consumption and the efficient use of resources that are available on site. It means taking a closer look at what can be done to reduce the carbon footprint impact while increasing the efficiency of the facility and effectively managing the facility’s biggest asset; water.
Water management is a critical tool required to valuate water & energy consumption on site. One of the main issues facilities deal with is the non-revenue water (NRW) – water which is lost before it reaches its final destination. High levels of NRW are detrimental to the financial viability of utilities since a significant amount of resources goes into producing water that is ultimately unaccounted for.
This is where smart metering comes in. Smart meters in your system measure the quantity of water consumed in your facility and detects any anomalies which could point to potential leaks.
Having a smart metering programme will have a positive impact on your business, it will improve efficiency, reduce water production costs and reduce carbon emissions. While there will be a roll out cost, this would be offset against the savings on leaks, network management and by avoiding the need for external water resources. This positive return would reduce overall energy consumption and costs.
What is the smart water meter?
Smart water meters enable Intelligent conservation and reduced costs. They use “real time” usage data to measure water consumption and eliminate manual tasks which may be in place to monitor this.
Typically, they send real time data every hour to a specific software platform, this regular flow of information allows companies to accurately monitor the amount of water used in the facility and identifies at an early stage if there are any leak present in the system.
With the limited amount of water we have, water meters can help achieve significant savings in water, energy, efficiency and cost.
Benefits of smart metering
Smart metering has many benefits including leak detection and reduced water consumption – central to addressing water scarcity issues and reduced carbon emissions.
By analyzing the data, problem areas can be identified, priorities assigned to making improvement measures and an efficiency development strategy drawn up.
One of the main benefits of metering is its ability to provide details about water flow. Portable or check metering flow meters can be setup to measure the water flow at any part of a system and used to evaluate a facility’s total throughput.
Water metering also reduces overall costs, reduced consumption means lower operational & meter reading costs as well as energy costs.
While these are main benefits of smart metering, it can help with:
- Health and safety improvements
- Backflow detection
- Integration with other smart technologies
- Innovation in tariff strategies
- Improved bad debt management
Water management is the key
In past years, there has been an increased focus on minimizing these losses – and significant effort has gone into improving the management of the water supply. Although utilities obviously play an important role in doing this, it usually goes beyond their sole responsibility.
Monitoring and planning overall resources is generally managed by agencies that cover entire towns, communities or even individual states in cooperation with the relevant stakeholders – including the water utilities. In the near future, this will most likely lead to greater expectations and increasingly stringent legislation aimed at increasing the efficient use of water and energy and environmental protection as a whole.
Factors when selecting metering technology
When considering a smart meter there are a number of factors to be considered. In the water industry a life cycle approach to metering is particularly important, just because it is the cheapest option to acquire, does not mean it is going to be the most effective for your system and could result in more costs overall.
Accuracy is usually the first metric to determine applicability of a meter to a particular system. No meter is 100% accurate and most manufacturers provide a range of accuracies in their product and consideration must be put in the reputation of the manufacture and the overall success of the meter in the industry.
Secondly, repeatability is an important factor as it is an indication of a meter’s consistent performance. The repeatability of a measurement is the ability to measure the same flow rate with multiple measurements of the same parameter, under the same conditions.
Functional metrics to be considered
It is important to consider the installation requirements because the meters come in various shapes and sizes. When selecting a specific make and model, it is important to understand all of the size and weight constraints, requirements to specific diameters (or lengths) of straight pipe upstream and downstream of the meter, specific electrical and communications needs, and the overall environment that the meter will operate in.
When it comes to maintenance, the lowest cost metering technology may not always be the best choice. The life cycle costs of a meter with a low purchase price but which is very expensive to install or service, for instance, may be higher than a more expensive meter, which only needs to be checked on an annual basis. System shutdown or redesigns needed to accommodate a meter’s physical size, weight, etc. – and are also examples of expenses that need to be taken into account.
Smart water meters are an essential piece of equipment for your water system which will help make your water system run more efficiently, reduce energy consumption, reduce associated costs and have an overall positive impact on your carbon footprint in general.
If you want to talk to someone about smart metering contact us today to speak to one of our water experts.