How smart meters and open data are shaping water management
Government, Ofwat, and water companies agree that smart water meters are a top water-saving solution. This is specifically with regard to the Environment Act 2021. The Act is part of the government’s undertaking to leave the environment better off than previous generations. The reason for this is to:
- Preserve natural resources in England
- Protect the environment in response to climate change threats
- Build resilience in the context of population growth and biodiversity loss
- Manage supply and demand – especially in times of drought, heatwaves, and flooding
Smart water monitoring provides the insights for every stakeholder to reduce consumption and maximise water saving potential.
Smart AMI and the Environment Act 2021
Together with the Environmental Improvement Plan 2023, the Environment Act lays the foundation for environmental benchmarking, legislation to achieve these targets, and outlines the consultation and decision-making processes applicable to these. There are many considerations that are of interest to businesses and regulation of future operations.
The Act adheres to the five environmental principles, outlined in section 17(5). What are the five environmental principles? These ‘are internationally recognised as successful benchmarks for environmental protection and enhancement’ that will guide policy on the environment in England. The five principles are:
- Rectification at source
- Polluter pays
- Precautionary principle
In response to targets, Ofwat and the government have proposed accelerated installation of smart meters and the use of open data as tools for reducing consumption. This is done with the future in mind, with the Environment Agency anticipating around 4000MI per day shortfall based on projected demands. Using data for sustainable change aligns with the environmental principles above – covering sustainable development goals too.
Smart metering is fundamental to driving behavioural change for reduced consumption. It is also important for early leak detection and prevention to minimise water losses. Through the utilisation of open data, water companies are best-placed to identify priorities, foster collaboration, and enjoy the benefits of data culture. These data insights will also empower decision-making around water infrastructure and guide upgrades around priority.
Smart metering in draft water resources management plans
Accelerated rollout of smart water meters is a clear indicator of intention by Ofwat. While most businesses are already metered, only 5% are smart metered. Water companies aim to have smart meters in 22% of non-household properties by 2030 and 35% by 2050. The non-household market uses a third of the country’s water, which makes it an important area of potential savings. It is also a market with diverse water use trends and needs, which impacts this question of supply, demand, and sustainability.
The data insights of smart meters give companies the ability to understand usage. This is the cornerstone of identifying, implementing, and monitoring the effects of meaningful change. At an individual company, industry, supplier, and national level, information sharing, and collaboration will likely hold the key to meeting environmental aims today and into the future.
Will smart meters be compulsory in the UK?
Individual water suppliers have policies around smart water meters – influenced by water scarcity, usage, and other factors. In the case of some major suppliers, this has led to the staggered rollout of smart meters according to priority region. Visit your wholesaler’s website to find out more about tariff structures, metering policies, and how they aim to address their obligations in future.
Is there a downside to having a smart meter?
While the pros certainly outweigh the cons, poor connectivity has been cited as an issue some consumers have experienced. There have also been concerns around privacy. This is where your choice of smart AMI for water makes a difference. Smarter Technologies’ smart water monitoring solutions are powered by Orion, The Real-Time Data Network™, which is low-power, long-range, and secure.
What are the benefits of a smart water meter?
Some of the top benefits of smart water meters include:
Smart AMI Meter Reading Systems Provide Data In Real-Time (and Over Time)
Access to real-time data is a catalyst for myriad benefits. This allows notifications to be sent when consumption peaks beyond pre-programmable thresholds. This makes for greater control and instant reaction to undesirable usage. By giving users more control over their water portfolios, there is increased likelihood of customer satisfaction and improved user experience between supplier and consumer.
Unlocking the power of data means billing based on accurate data rather than estimates (and reduced time and resources querying issues). Over time, monitoring consumption trends helps suppliers and users to identify potential sources of savings.
Smart water monitoring solutions from Smarter Technologies Group integrates easily into broader smart utilities monitoring solutions. The flexibility and cost-effectiveness of the solutions make them ideal for multi-site or complex facilities, allowing businesses to scale their systems with ease.
On an individual level, this helps businesses to strictly control consumption. This will be especially important in times of supply shortages or in response to shifting regulations. On a supply level, this data will assist suppliers in managing supply and demand to ensure uninterrupted supply as best as possible.
Use Data From Smart Meters To Save Money
Smart AMR water meters present different direct and indirect ways for consumers to save. Primarily, the ability to reduce consumption, control usage around regulatory considerations, and prevent leaks and other wasteful occurrences have financial advantages. The opportunity to mitigate resource, time, and opportunity costs associated with inaccurate billing disputes is also one element of this.
Smart Water Meters Remove The Need For Manual Processes
Manual processes come with the risk of error and are traditionally time consuming and resource intensive. Smart AMI water meters automate many of these processes. From data collection to storage and record-keeping for compliance, systems around water are simplified by the shift to smart processes.
Smart AMR Meters Expedite Leak Detection
By setting consumption thresholds, real-time water consumption monitoring is the most effective way to quickly identify and rectify leaks. Rather than being alerted to issues at the end of your billing cycle, consumers are empowered to act immediately. This prevents wasted water and potentially very high bills.
Contact Smarter Technologies Group Today for AMR Water Meter Solutions
Get ahead of changing regulations and optimise your water management by installing a smart water meter today. Contact Smarter Technologies Group for more information.