Posted on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 by Martin Møller Værum
Conservation and sustainability are on everybody’s lips these days. But with water loss and aging infrastructures growing into major concerns, we shouldn’t just talk about a sustainable water future. It requires action today. Too much drinking water disappears on the way to the consumers or is consumed without being metered, which makes it difficult for utilities to know when and where to take action.
Intelligent meters, remote reading, and advanced analytics offer more than accurate and fair billing. While contributing to black bottom lines and optimisations within operations, customer relations and asset management, they also bring a triad of green opportunities such as lowering water consumption, fighting Non-Revenue Water and reducing energy consumption.
Part I Lowering water consumption through awareness
Lowering water consumption through awareness
Above all, conserving our water resources means using less of them. Many countries today enjoy the privilege of an abundance of water, or have a secured water supply. But we all still have a role to play in ensuring a sustainable water distribution many years from now by eliminating excess use of water.
A key factor in lowering water consumption is end-user engagement – but before that comes awareness. This is especially a challenge in areas where customers are billed based on flat rates because this eliminates the correlation between their consumption and their water bill. In addition to providing that link, consumption-based billing based on precise measurements from intelligent water meters ensures that each customer pays only for the exact amount of water they have used.
With smart metering solutions it is even possible for water utilities to give customers access to their own consumption data. This supports a more proactive dialogue with consumers and provides the insight to enable them to take responsibility for changing their consumption behavior – and subsequently seeing the result on their water bill. Experience clearly shows that when metering is introduced, the water consumption drops significantly.
Another benefit when less water is consumed, is a substantial process optimization at the utility. If smaller amounts of water need to be extracted and treated, the utility uses fewer chemicals, such as chlorine to clean the water, and less resources, e.g. power. Also, when a utility knows exactly how much water is paid for by the customers compared to the amount of water that have been pumped into the distribution network, they can start attacking their level of Non-Revenue Water.
50% savings with smart metering
"A housing division with 156 leases reduced its water consumption by 50% after individual meters were installed. In round figures, they save 6,000 cubic meters. In the final analysis, this means the tenants benefit from annual savings of around DKK 300,000.” people go from not caring to having a much greater interest in it, and they become much more conscious that it costs money every time you turn a tap on. It’s pure consumer behavior.” Niels Munthe, Energy Manager at ALBOA housing association.
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