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The implementation of smart water meters in Australian Woolworth’s stores has led to greater water savings and reduced costs and risks, while providing real-time readings.

Customer Challenge

As stakeholders demand more environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts, regulations tighten and consumers increasingly expect brands to act, Woolworths is committed to purposeful action on sustainability.

This became even more crucial when New South Wales and South East Queensland experienced some of the worst drought conditions in 2018 and 2019.

Woolworths executives asked themselves what kind of a commitment they could make to reducing water across operations. With over 1,000 stores, and many of these stores not directly billed for water, it left one big question: how can they possibly manage what they can’t measure?

The Right Fit

Woolworths is Australia’s largest supermarket retailer, with over 1,000 stores nationwide.

Woolworths found a partner in WaterGroup, who could align with its commitment to best-practice environmental sustainability and operational outputs.

The Solution

In 2019, WaterGroup helped Woolworths identify 35 of its high usage stores and implemented a smart water metering solution. The solution included a smart device called a logger that connected to the existing water meters at Woolworths stores.

The logger collects the water meter usage data via the NBIoT network, which is then displayed on a customer platform. WaterGroup also provided its AWARE service. The two combined ensured store managers were notified of atypical water use within 24-48 hours. 

Water issues – that typically took months or years to identify – were fully resolved in a matter of days.

Woolworths 360 Water and Energy Project Manager, Nick Blackwell, said, “Water savings happened fast – we saved over 35,000kL of water in our first 12 months.”

The Corporate Water Tree

The next step in Woolworth’s water saving plan was to better understand its water use, broken down into business units and regions. Ultimately, the business needed to commit to developing a complete baseline of water usage to measure and report efforts in water conservation. 

It achieved this by working with WaterGroup to develop a corporate ‘water tree’ mapping its usage in detail.

Outcomes and Results

Woolworths now has over 300 stores connected with smart water meters, providing near real-time visibility and confidence that stores are operating without water leaks and other anomalies.

It provides online monitoring data to dramatically reduce the time taken, cost and risk to address abnormal water use.

As of March 2022, Woolworths had saved 58,000kL through smart water metering.

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by WaterGroup. For more information, visit www.watergroup.com.au.

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