South East Water leads the way with leak detection

General Manager Digital Utility Andrew Forster-Knight celebrates the win with South East Water MD Lara Olsen and team

South East Water’s continuous flow leak detection initiative has taken out the Customer Experience Award at the Australian Water Awards. It was made possible through its digital utility program.

The award was announced at the Australian Water Association’s Ozwater’23 conference in Sydney on 10–12 May. The groundbreaking leak detection program uses digital meter data and can detect leaks in real time. Their technology achieves this by measuring continuous flow (120 L per day over 24 hours). This means customers’ first indications of a leak are communicated clearly and promptly. It is a vast improvement over making the leak’s presence known in the form of an unexpectedly large water bill.

General Manager of Digital Utility, Andrew Forster-Knight, said the program is a crucial component of the organisation’s goals to deliver clean water sustainably, focusing on providing lasting and measurable value for customers.

“To be able to harness new technology to deliver benefits for customers and the environment is incredibly rewarding. By simultaneously conserving our most precious resource and offering a seamless, proactive leak detection service to the community, we can improve customer experience and help ensure water security,” Forster-Knight said. “Being recognised for these achievements by the Australian Water Association is positive reinforcement for finding new ways to deliver value and protect our precious water. Our true reward is the satisfaction and relief our customers feel when they are empowered to avoid excessive bills due to continuous water flow.”

Since the 2018 introduction of the program, South East Water customers have collectively saved 720 million litres of drinking water and $3 million. That’s a typical saving of $100 off the customer’s next bill.

OzWater’23 has been an eventful time for South East Water. The organisation’s steadfast commitment to improving customer experience and delivering sustainably has been a key theme in presentations and panel discussions.

Several South East Water’s team members have presented on topics such as water recycling, microplastics in water and the use of stormwater as a water resource. Alana Jones, Customer R&D Project Manager, has been nominated as a finalist for the Best Paper and Presentation Award for ‘Customer water usage: Attitudes and behaviour change at South East Water’.

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