U.K. Water Companies Address Domestic Water Shortage

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Source: Mayer Information Technology

The current water shortage in southeast England is having a marked effect on water resource strategy. Many water companies are reviewing what can be done to address potential shortfalls that are predicted for the years to come. This has taken the form of both demand and supply side measures including changes in U.K. water metering policy and plans for alternative methods of water supply.

Metering to reduce consumption

Numerous studies have shown that metered customers use 10-15 percent less water than their un-metered neighbors. A program by Yarra Valley Water in Australia has successfully cut consumption with the roll out of a new water bill format. Customers now receive more detailed information about their water use for the billing period, how this compares with the average consumption and to the same period last year. Current metering technology in the UK is not capable of offering such complex data.

Working Together

Severn Trent Services decided that a new approach was required to address the water shortages plaguing the United Kingdom. The company proposed to develop a new meter that could not only provide information on individual household water usage, but could also help identify and fix the supply pipe leakage that is estimated to account for up to seven percent of all water supplied to the network. Severn Trent approached seven U.K. water companies to form a consortium to identify and specify a new intelligent concentric water meter and to bring the product to market. At an initial meeting of the consortium hosted by one of the water companies, a working group focused on what was required by the utilities, as opposed to what could be designed by the engineers. The key areas for discussion were meter pricing, the physical design and performance characteristics of a proposed meter, the data output expected and the collection method required.

The final product: a revolutionary new water meter

Twenty-one months after the initial working group meetings, Severn Trent Services launched the C100R concentric water meter at the Global Smart Metering for Water Conference in London. The meter is available as a complete boundary box solution, with the meter pre-installed. The C100R supports on-board data processing and event monitoring. Designed to work with mobile collecting systems, it provides a far more cost effective solution in the short to medium term. Once the density of installed meters is ready to support it, the C100R can be used for fixed network applications. Being able to process data at the source, the meter reduces the dependency on high levels of data traffic and avoids the need for top-heavy systems and the associated problems of data saturation.

The C100R has an integrated radio and uses an electronic clock and calendar to offer a multitude of tariff options, providing itemized customer billing information. The meter has built in leakage detection with detailed leak information and peak demand monitoring.

Real-time high resolution readings are transmitted every 30 seconds to allow time-of-day tariffs and data logging. The meter also supports a host of network event monitoring functionality that will enable utilities to better manage the network.

With water shortages a major issue in the United Kingdom, the situation is likely to get worse unless positive steps are taken to help consumers to manage their water usage more economically. The C100R concentric water meter represents a technological solution built on the premise that an informed consumers are better able to make wise water usage decisions that will positively impact household economics as well as water availability nationwide.

For more information on smart metering, email info@severntrentservices.com

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