Watercare starts installing smart meters in Auckland

Watercare is introducing Captis data loggers on Auckland's commercial water meters to improve customer service and identify faults.

Watercare is introducing Captis data loggers on Auckland’s commercial water meters to improve customer service and identify faults.

Watercare, New Zealand’s largest water services provider, has begun installing smart loggers on Auckland’s commercial water meters to improve billing accuracy and help identify faults.

The smart loggers, provided by Kallipr in Queensland, will better manage water usage across the city and save on manual reads.

The installation is part of a complete managed service solution designed by Spark IoT. It includes a device and SIM management platform to make it much easier to manage devices and data at scale.

3,300 water meters have been logged and connected on the Spark NB-IoT network to provide usage information to Watercare thus far, with an additional 2500 meters to come.

Watercare’s Smart Network Lead, Nish Dogra, says this technology has the potential to improve water management across Aotearoa.

“Water is one of the most essential resources on Earth, and yet it is also one of the most undervalued. It is vital to give more consideration towards where it comes from and where it goes. Technology is a key enabler of these processes,” said Dogra.

“The new smart meters mean we can focus on efficiency gains thanks to having near real-time data across the connected non-residential properties. It provides a detailed overview of their water use. Faults and leaks can be found and fixed more easily. It leads to cost and water savings across the board,” he said.

What are the benefits of the Captis data loggers?

“The data has already helped us to identify a number of large leaks on our customer’s premises. We flagged these leaks with them so they can fix them quickly. For example, one school’s water use had skyrocketed from about 6,000L a day to more than 70,000. There was no obvious water leaking on the grounds. However, a specialist leak detection agency found a massive leak under the volcanic rock losing about 46L every minute. Identifying that leak early saved thousands of litres of water. It also saved the school hundreds of dollars in their water bill,” said Dogra.

Watercare supplies more than 400 million litres of water to Auckland every day, drawing water from 27 sources.

“By integrating IoT technology with the water management processes, operators can learn about potential process issues. They can detect leaks more easily and improve distribution,” Dogra said.

Spark’s Principal Innovation Business Development, Manager Matt McLay, said the new technology will play a greater role in how Watercare and its customers manage water. The Kallipr technology will significantly improve efficiency and sustainability by transitioning to a smart water meter network.

“We’re bringing together the best of smart water metering technology to help Watercare and its customers better monitor their water use efficiency. It will optimise billing accuracy, promote more efficient consumption and deliver maximum value to businesses.

“The NB-IoT network is perfect for this use case. It provides wide reliable coverage and suits battery-powered metering systems that send small amounts of data. On top of this, we’ve activated NB-IoT connectivity across our cell sites to provide 90 per cent population coverage.”

Spark IoT commissioned research that was undertaken by NERA Economic Consulting. It showed that water metering solutions can provide a potential net benefit of NZ$28 million in the market across a ten-year period up to 2027 from efficiencies and cost savings.

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