SA Water is installing 300 smart meters at residences and businesses in the Kangaroo Island Township, and flow and pressure sensors will be placed at key points within the broader local water main network.

This follows the successful trial of a $4 million smart water network in the Adelaide CBD, which has been live since July 2017. This network includes 100 smart meters at 70 business customer sites, and a combined 336 flow meters, pressure, water quality and leak detection sensors.

SA Water’s Manager of Water Assets, Dr Helen Edmonds, said like the participating customers in Adelaide, the Penneshaw community will be able to use smart meters to monitor their water consumption through a secure online portal.

“A data logger to be attached or built into each customer’s water meter will send water use information to their individual portal every 60 minutes, which can be viewed online at any time,” Dr Edmonds said.

“Once the portals are activated, there will also be an option for people to receive SMS or email notifications on their water use trends or inconsistencies, on either a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

“This interconnected system will help customers identify potential leaks or other faults in their plumbing, which may indicate periods or spikes of unexplained high water use.

“A dedicated team will be on-hand via phone or email to help our customers understand the data and what can be done to resolve any issues.”

In the 12 months that the 70 Adelaide CBD customers have been using smart meters, SA Water has worked with these businesses to resolve numerous otherwise undetected issues, such as large water losses.

“In one instance, smart meter data alerted a customer to a sudden increase in their water consumption from 15,000 to 51,000 litres a day,” Dr Edmonds said.

“The cause was found to be a fault in the air conditioning cooling towers, which was immediately rectified and prevented an unnecessarily high water bill for that customer.

“Although on a much larger scale to what we expect to detect for residential customers, this shows the effectiveness of the technology, and how it can be used to achieve water efficiencies for our customers.

“For SA Water, we already see our customers’ individual meter reads for billing purposes, but the smart meter data will provide a holistic view of Penneshaw’s water needs. The two flow and pressure sensors will also tell us more about the town’s water supply network, helping identify any network water losses as well as support our operational, planning and investment decisions.

“Over the next 12 months, we’ll be testing and measuring all aspects of the technology and the experience of our Penneshaw customers. The results will help to inform our long-term thinking on how to best use this technology, including making it more widely available.”

SA Water-managed smart meters are already being used by 12 schools in metropolitan and regional areas of South Australia, several large SA Water business customers – including Westfield, Adelaide Oval, Nyrstar and Zoos SA – and a number of irrigators in Clare.

Penneshaw was selected for this pilot project due to the small and contained nature of the local water main network, as well as the area’s topography which provides for radio transmission to securely relay the information from meter to portal.

All smart meters will be progressively installed over the coming months by Kangaroo Island-based plumbers engaged through Fleurieu Civil. The installation will be complete by late September 2018, and all equipment, including the customer portals, is expected to be operational from October. 

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