In one of the largest pilot projects for the technology in Australia, Water Corporation is set to install more than 16,000 digital smart meters into homes and businesses across Perth.
The smart meters will transmit wireless water-use data, providing an hourly overview of water consumption, through an online Water Corporation account, that will be available from mid 2024.
The technology makes it easy to notify customers of high or unusual water use patterns, helping them identify leaks sooner and reducing the potential for surprise bills.
Water Corporation already has some 40,000 smart meters in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, parts of the Pilbara and Yanchep, where the technology has improved safety and efficiency by removing the need for physical meter reading.
Around 250 Water Corporation customers in West Perth will be the first to receive a smart meter under the new metropolitan pilot, which begins next month.
A wider rollout will occur from October, with participating suburbs to be announced later in the year.
The pilot will provide important insights on the benefits of smart meters, including how data can help customers change water-use behaviours, and which meters work best in local conditions.
Average rainfall across southern Western Australia has fallen by 20 per cent since the 1970s, leading to an 80 per cent reduction in dam inflows, and increasing Perth’s reliance on climate-resilient water sources such as desalination.
One way to help conserve Western Australia’s most valuable resource is by using water as efficiently as possible – something that may be made easier with smart water meters.
There will be no cost to those participating in the pilot, and customers will be able to access their online account in mid-2024. The pilot is planned to finish in mid-2025.
Western Australian Minister for Water, Simone McGurk, said that by empowering people with information about how they use water, they’re more likely to take action to reduce their consumption.
“This is one of the main advantages of smart meters. They transmit near real-time data, which can be presented through an online account to show people when and how much water they use throughout the day,” Mr McGurk said.
“They are also effective in detecting household leaks, helping save valuable drinking water, and reducing the potential for bill shock.
“Through this pilot we’ll gain valuable insights into how to best utilise smart meters in Perth. This will inform the pace and scale of future installations, and help Water Corporation on its journey to become a leading digital utility.”