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Victorian water utility Coliban Water has reached the final stage of its digital meter rollout, with over 47,000 customers in the Bendigo region to have access to the new program.

Executive General Manager Strategy, Economics and Data, Jarrah O’Shea, said the program has already seen huge financial savings to customer water bills and millions of litres of water saved.

“We’ve already installed 28,000 digital water meters across the Coliban Water region since 2018, now it’s time to deliver to our biggest city to finish the project,” Mr O’Shea said.

Since May 2021, Coliban Water has alerted more than 260 customers to a major water leak at their property, resulting in a combined water saving of around 50,000L every hour.

“Some of the leaks recently identified included a hospital that was losing 14,000L a day, a service station that was losing 10,000L a day, and the Coliban Water team has worked extensively with a rural property that was losing 60,000L a day,” Mr O’Shea said.

The digital loggers record water use at the water meter every hour and transmit the data back to Coliban Water daily.

Mr O’Shea said that the utility isn’t necessarily focussing on minor incidents, like identifying a dripping tap, but major leaks – which are those that are wasting from 100L to up to 2,000L of water every hour.

“If these leaks are left undetected and left running over the standard three-month bill cycle, the financial impact could be anywhere between $500 and $8500 to a customer’s quarterly bill,” Mr O’Shea said.

“Most leaks aren’t visible from the surface and obvious to the eye. It’s often caused by failed plumbing underground, such as a burst pipe from old trench lines or stormwater pipes, and in most cases requires a plumber called in to identify and fix the leak.

“Sometimes a customer might be lucky to notice a constant wet patch on their lawn, or loss in water pressure, but most aren’t that obvious.

“This initiative is part of our focus on securing water for future generations as we adapt to huge climate and population changes.”

The final stage of the digital metering program is expected to take almost two years to complete and will be finalised by the end of 2023.

The digital meters are free of charge, customers will be notified seven days prior to the installations and do not need to be home at the time of installation; which will only take 30 minutes.

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