Digital water meters save $600k in leaky suburbs

Digital water meters have saved Unitywater customers more than $605,000 and 130 million litres of water in the last 18 months.

Digital water meters have saved Unitywater customers more than $605,000 and 130 million litres of water in the last 18 months.

The meters have detected hidden leaks which the utility has been able to alert customers to before they worsen or continue.

The project is known as the Smart Meter Network. It has seen 10,500 customers in the historically ‘leaky’ suburbs of Mooloolaba, Maroochydore, Alexandra Headland, and Buderim areas have a digital meter installed at their property.

Executive Manager Customer and Community Katherine Gee said the utility had been impressed with the results of the smart water meters.

“Smart meters are intelligent devices that can help monitor water usage. They can detect hidden leaks that save money and lost water,” Gee said.

“It’s not only about helping our customers save money, but we have a huge focus on sustainability. We are committed to playing our part in ensuring the sustainability and liveability of our region.”

Gee said smart water meters captured meter readings at 15-minute intervals. This is compared to mechanical meters, which are read every quarter.

Digital water meters support customers

“We’ve been able to notify more than 90% of our digital meter customers of potential hidden leaks within three days. They can get a licensed plumber to identify their leak and repair it before it worsens.

“We detected a significant leak at a unit complex in Mooloolaba and worked with them to alert them and engage a plumber to investigate.

“The leak came from a burst pipe to the spa under a garden. The spa was on auto top-up, so it was losing huge volumes of water. The water lost was almost the same amount of water used by this complex each day. If this continued without us detecting it, the water bill would have been more than $4000.”

Manager of the Coco Mooloolaba unit complex, Kylie Bartholomew, said, “This has saved us as a property, and all of the owners in our property, a load of money and heartache. It could have been far worse.”

Gee said the Smart Meter Network was a trial. Over the next 12 months, Unitywater will be analysing the data from the smart water meters. They would be valuing the benefits they can provide.

“This is a first step in the long-term plan to roll out smart water meter technology across the utility’s entire water supply network. Hopefully it will help our customers manage their water usage, detect leaks faster and save money on their bills.”

For more information about the meters, visit the Unitywater website.

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