GWMWater has installed digital water meters across a third of Victoria; demonstrating that digital metering can move from the trial stage into delivery and then become part of business as usual.
The utility, which covers around 62,000 square kilometres, or around 25 per cent of Victoria, has replaced 29,000 water meters across urban areas with an all-in-one device and retrofitted a further 3,000 meters with an electronic device across its urban operational area. A separate project to digitise rural water meters was completed in 2016.
The low-cost, digital meters record consumption at regular intervals and transmit data at user defined frequencies (presently hourly) using a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN). The deployment of the all-in-one (meter and electronic device) is a game-changer for this type of application. While the previous retro-fit method worked as expected, there was a higher likelihood (although slim) of having the electronic device and meter out of sync or being tampered with, as it is a bolt-on solution.
Leveraging a communications network and back-end data handling capability developed for the Rural Pipeline Intelligence Project in 2016, GWMWater added 43 receivers to establish consistent LPWAN coverage across its operating area. With the network now established, there is opportunity to deploy other low-cost sensors (such as manhole detection, sewer overflow, tank level monitoring) across the network.
The development of a vast communications LPWAN enables a reduction in capital costs, (utilising existing low-cost communications network) reduction in carbon emissions and (reducing distances travelled by GWMWater operations and contractors) improved staff and contractor safety, (reducing fatigue-related incidents and reduced travel).
The consumption data is aggregated by the host provider, returned to GWMWater for operational purposes and then re-directed into the Customer Portal; empowering the customer with more information about their water service than ever before.
Water supply customers across Australia are becoming more and more conscious of their water consumption and their water usage trends. Using this technology GWMWater is empowering rural and urban customers across the Wimmera, Mallee and Grampians regions with pseudo real-time data so they can better understand their water use and adjust their habits where required.
The Customer Portal allows both residential and commercial customers, who are responsible for paying the usage component of a property’s water bill, to monitor their water use, set alerts for high usage, identify leaks and track spending.
The Customer Portal forms a critical part of GWMWater’s digital footprint as the corporation continually enhances its systems through digital transformation to improve and enrich customer experience. The Portal went live in December 2020 to customers that were invited to register with GWMWater for a ‘technology pioneer’ project. The objective of the project was to gather feedback on the re-designed registration process and user experience. This feedback is being used to make some refinements, with a more extensive promotion of the customer portal being targeted for April 2021 when the next round of customer accounts are issued.
For more information about GWMWater’s Customer Portal