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SMART WATER & UTILITIES

Smart Water technology provides a wide range of business benefits that spans asset management, planning, operations and customer engagement.

Whether it’s a network wide rollout of Automatic Meter Reading or the installation of Smart Network devices such as Sewer Overflow Sensors, Pressure Sensors and Mass-flow sensors, the benefits can be seen immediately and well into the future.

Automatic Meter Reading (AMR)

AMR generally refers to the remote reading of water, gas or electricity meters using some form of communications technology. While it has been available for many years, the uptake of AMR for the collection of domestic water meter data in urban, suburban and rural areas in Australia has been slow as the cost, until now, has been quite high.

When considering their potential use of AMR, local councils and water authorities have typically considered the reading of meters for billing purposes only, found that the technology incurs many times the cost of existing manual meter reading methods and then rejected it. However, Taggle’s technology lowers the cost of AMR significantly and, as a result, many organisations are now using it for billing and a range of other purposes.

For many water utilities, the distribution network accounts 50-60% of their assets and, surprisingly, they have very little visibility of their status and performance. While SCADA is widely used to monitor and control the production of water and delivery to service reservoirs, it is rarely used to monitor those assets beyond the reservoir. Part of the reason for this is that, up to now, it has been uneconomical to provide widespread data communications from assets like water meters.

AMR is now seen as providing a wealth of information which can be used for leak detection, demand management, load balancing, network planning and optimisation. When viewed in the context of these wider applications of data, AMR is becoming a key tool in the planning and operation of efficient water distribution networks in Australia and overseas.

 

Smart Water Networks

In addition to Automatic Meter Reading, Taggle’s technology is being used to collect data from a wide range of other sensors.

 Examples include sewer overflow sensors, water level sensors (float switch and pressure types), pressure sensors, water quality, rain gauges, temperature and humidity sensors and others which have digital, analog and serial interfaces.

Data from such sensors can provide a new level of information for SCADA systems, allowing operators to get a more complete picture of what is happening across their networks. 

Once a receiver is in place the opportunity to further expand the network is always there. If your utility is facing any challenges it could be possible that with more information a solution can be found.

Sub-metering 

Apartment buildings, shopping centres and commercial properties

Many apartment buildings, shopping centres and commercial properties receive water through one “master” meter, with water and heating bills often divided based on floor-area. 

This removes accountability for water use from tenants who have the most control over water use.

Installing meters at each tenancy, often referred to as “sub-metering”, ensures a user-pays approach and provides an economic benefit to those tenants who are more frugal with their water consumption.

Installing automated meter reading technology on these sub-meters provides the ability to provide real-time data to consumers allowing them to take control of their water and energy consumption.

Taggle worked with the building manager of Miramar, a modern 38-storey apartment building, to more equitably manage the water and energy billing system for the owners.

Many apartment owners lived overseas and used their apartment for only a month or two each year and did not want to pay for water they did not use.

Taggle’s smart metering technology is used on 534 hot and cold water meters to measure consumption and equitably distribute the utility bills amongst residents.

“The average water use was 400 kilolitres a day minimum. Since we installed the meters, water usage has dropped by 100 kilolitres a day,” said Sunny Sun, the building manager for Miramar.

Smart Sewer Networks

With the range of information now available with the use of low cost IoT Sensors and Networks, we can get a clear picture of what is happening across the Sewer System with alerts to abnormalities and preset parameters indicating problems.

Many factors influence and impact the sewer network including rainfall, wind, rising ground water and blockages. We can now monitor the effects of rainfall and predict sewer overflow events as well as the effect wind and weather has on odours within the system.

From the sensor through all stages of processing and analysis to the software, Taggle has the complete solution to manage your network.

The benefits of a Smart Sewer Network

– Measure the impact of rain and groundwater on overflows and odour build up

– Predict changes due to environmental influences

– Alerts to developing  blockages and problem areas requiring maintenance 

– Reduce flooding and overflow events

– Detect unsafe gas and odour build up

– Increases predictability and early warning for sewer overflows

– Monitor if the water level is outside of an expected normal range

The drivers of change and benefits of knowledge

Identifying Water Loss 
Customers by actively managing their water usage can identify water leaks within their property. Council can use the instantaneous data to identify mains leaks. Lowering  this water loss reduces electricity usage cost at the water plants and pump stations and also equates to extending the life expectancy of the mechanical and electrical components. 

Customer Service 
Providing a Customer Portal is a very positive step forward in community relations. Real time access to their water usage patterns and subsequent cost provide the customer with the power to manage their water usage. This will reduce the frequency of customer complaints. 

Community benefits 
The Network installed to manage Council’s water data can also be used by other local businesses to monitor a wide variety of parameters. These include but not limited to weather data, soil moisture, Viticulture, Industry to name a few. 

Environmental Benefits 
Minimising water loss and reduction in the total consumption leaves more water in the river system enhancing the health of the aquatic environment. 

Reduce operating costs and non revenue water losses

Reduction in residential leakage rebates

Educate customers empowering them to change their own behaviors

Automatic monitoring with alarms if changes occur within the system that require attention

Enhanced customer engagement via online portal

Reduce safety and security concerns associated with manual readings

Extend the lifespan of the network through optimised operations and proactive maintenance

Identify and repair underground bursts that could run indefinitely and could cause infrastructure damage 

Avoid bill shock with near real-time data on consumption and excess use alarms 

Reduce energy costs by optimising pumps efficiency