Water meters that are less subject to mineral deposits reduce cost and ensure high and stable accuracy

Region Gotland, Sweden

The calcareous rocks of Gotland caused lime deposits in the region’s 12,000 mechanical water meters. This forced the region’s water department to replace some of the meters after only three years as opposed to the usual 10 years. Gradually replacing the mechanical water meters with Kamstrup ultrasonic water meters that are less subject to mineral deposits – which maintains a high and stable accuracy for metering and billing – is expected to result in great savings.

Ultrasonic water meters solve problems with mineral deposits

Areas with calcareous rocks often have hard water, which can cause mineral deposits in water meters, typically lime scale and calcium, which decrease their level of accuracy. The water department of Region Gotland was challenged by deposits of calcium, iron as well as sand in their mechanical water meters. 

As a result of the deposits, the meters displayed incorrect water usage and would sometimes even stop working altogether. 

“The problem is most severe for those of our customers who have their own wells, as we use the water usage as the basis for sewage service charges. We do however also have significant problems with deposits in areas where the water hardness is especially high,” explains Susanne Bjergegaard Pettersson, Head of Region Gotland’s water department. 

Furthermore, water meters are required by Swedish law to be replaced every 10 years, but because of the iron and calcareous deposits, the water department has had to change some of the mechanical meters after only three years.

They expect that replacing the mechanical meters with ultrasonic meters from Kamstrup will generate considerable savings. 

Accurate billing requires accurate meter reading

Based on, among other things, positive experiences from other water authorities, Region Gotland chose Kamstrup’s flowIQ® water meter. Kamstrup’s ultrasonic meters have no moving parts and arenot vulnerable to mineral deposition and wear and tear. 

The vacuum seal prevents moisture and condensation from entering the meter, which makes it suitable for placement inmeter wells. Also, the flowIQ® water meter has longer expected lifetime than mechanical meters. 

Ultrasonic meters are more expensive than mechanical meters. However, the water department expects the investment to pay for itself because of the increased accuracy of the meter readings and the increased lifetime of the ultrasonic meters.

A number of the new meters have already been installed and are functioning well, so orders have been placed for many more. Most of them will be flowIQ® domestic-sized meters but a small number of commercial flowIQ® meters will be installed at larger consumers. 

Additional savings are expected from the built-in leakage detection in the new meters. This enables Region Gotland’s water department to quickly locate and fix the leaks. 

Considering that a leaking toilet can at worst result in about 105,000 gallons of wasted water in one year, effective leak detection can save customers a considerable amount of money.

”The savings will come from always getting accurate readings, because they enable accurate billing. This benefits us as well as our customers. Not having to replace meters prematurely will of course also produce significant savings.”

- Susanne Bjergegaard Pettersson, Head of Region Gotland's water department

Remote reading contributes to simpler billing and savings

Region Gotland’s water department currently sends out meter reading cards to customers once a year, but the inconvenience and risk of error involved in this approach makes it very inefficient. 

Also, the response rate is very low, meaning that, in many cases, staff then has to go out and do the reading manually at the customers’ premises, which is very time consuming. 

With Kamstrup’s READy mobile reading, meter reading becomes quick and easy.

Using just three components, you can read meters directly from the car. 

“We have tested READy and we have high expectations for this metering solution. When the new meters are installed, we will be able to get the readings directly into our financial system as a basis for billing,” explains Susanne Bjergegaard Pettersson. 

In the future, Region Gotland will consider expanding to Kamstrup's Radio Link solution for network reading, which would make meter reading even more effortless.

flowIQ® 2100
flowIQ® 3101
READy drive-by reading
Time frame: The meter roll out started in 2014 and will take place over a ten-year period. 

Region Gotland
57,300 inhabitants
12,000 metering points