The usage of smart metering in the urban water sector is expected to substantially increase over the coming decade, according to new academic research published recently by water, an open access journal on water science and technology.
The report, entitled “Intelligent Metering for Urban Water: A Review,” was published by a group of Australian researchers, including Thomas Boyle, Damien Giurco, Pierre Mukheibir, Ariane Liu, Candice Moy and Stuart White from the University of Technology Sydney, and Rodney Stewart from the Griffith University in Queensland.
“Intelligent metering has the potential to revolutionize customer engagement and management of urban water by utilities,” the authors wrote. They added that, to date, roll-outs of intelligent metering had been driven by the desire for increased data regarding time of use and end-use as well as by the ability of the technology to reduce labor costs for meter reading.
The report noted that, while technology development in the water sector generally lagged behind the electricity sector, in the coming decade the deployment of intelligent water metering by water utilities would witness sharp growth.
The authors said that water metering was currently shifting from being predominantly “pilot or demonstration scale,” with the occasional city-wide roll-out, to broader mainstream implementation.
They concluded that utilities were expected to start addressing issues such as the role of real-time data in customer engagement and demand management; data ownership, sharing and privacy; technical data management and infrastructure security; utility workforce skills; and costs and benefits of implementation.
The report indicates that the industry is progressively turning towards the consideration of intelligent metering as a potential way to secure water supply, minimize waste and control costs, in addition to transforming the customer-utility relationship.