Councils embracing global water management innovations on a local level

Smart water management tools have been deployed around the world to offer councils better insights into water usage, network issues and engage more proactively with their constituents. Australian councils can improve customer service, prevent leakages, and reduce costs by learning from these global experiences and embracing innovative technology such as smart meters.

With water conservation becoming increasingly important across the globe, particularly in Australia, local governments are prioritising sustainable water management strategies and finding new ways to help communities save water.

Utilities and councils are turning to digital solutions like smart metering to understand how households, businesses and communities are using water. Smart metering solutions can also help them detect leaks, provide proactive maintenance and track customer water usage. These insights can help determine water network capacity and inform decision-makers when responding to water-use crises, such as a drought. Smart metering can also significantly reduce non-revenue water, saving costs associated with water loss and unplanned maintenance.

Global water management company, SUEZ, has recently announced its new strategic plan, which prioritises developing methods to reduce local water usage and encourage water resiliency in communities. With this new plan focusing on innovative solutions to water management challenges, SUEZ shares its knowledge and experience to help councils in their digital transitions to make the most of their limited water resources.

Digital innovation on a global scale

Through its new strategic plan, SUEZ is delivering global solutions to facilitate digital transformations through research and projects involving the implementation of smart water management technologies. SUEZ has been installing smart meters worldwide since 2005 using the “WIZE Alliance” technology and has achieved demonstratable battery life between 15 to 20+ years.

WIZE, is an innovative approach to Long Range, Low-Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology, designed to deliver bi-directional radio communication and connect hard-to-access objects such as in ground meters, apartments, industrial buildings and retail parks. For smart metering, this offers secure communication, data security and wide-area coverage, connecting thousands of smart meters across a network.

A common misconception is that it is expensive to deploy a dedicated network but this is not true, and SUEZ has a multitude of service offerings from Network as a Service (NaaS) to fully customer-owned options. The WIZE technology can also be used for other utilities such as gas and some smart city applications.

SUEZ has already deployed more than 6.5 million connected water meters using WIZE technology across Europe and worldwide, including Australia, with a further 11 million under contract.

Additionally, SUEZ’s AQUADVANCED Water Networks is a software solution that assists with water network management and the preservation of water resources. AQUADVANCED Water Networks allows local governments to detect leaks, monitor networks in real-time and improve the quality of service to the community.

Supporting Singapore’s water resilience

In recent years, Singapore has been grappling with increasing water demand and climate change challenges, putting pressure on local water supplies and infrastructure. SUEZ and Singapore’s National Water Agency, Public Utilities Board (PUB), have collaborated since 2015 to research and develop projects for water management and conservation in the state.

SUEZ established a water innovation hub and delivery centre for services to support further collaboration with PUB. This hub will help digitally transform how PUB monitors its water and stormwater networks, enhance day-to-day operations and apply innovative technologies to maintain water resources.

Laurence Daly

SUEZ and PUB conducted studies into water usage and created projects that work towards developing a roadmap to meet Singapore’s future water needs through digitisation. Projects include studying residents’ water consumption with smart shower devices, setting up smart meters with an accompanying gamified mobile app to encourage residents to reduce water consumption, and many more.

One project in particular involved digitising PUB’s stormwater network management. Following a successful pilot, SUEZ set up PUB with its AQUADVANCED software solution to monitor some of Singapore’s drainage and sewerage systems. The system allowed PUB to analyse water levels and flows across the whole stormwater network, which then allowed for better decision-making when it came to preventing environmental damage and flood management.

SUEZ’s Business Development Manager, Laurence Daly, said that the company’s digital solutions offered meaningful insights for PUB.

“Monthly water bills can’t provide the same information or encourage reducing water usage, because often the data is generalised or dated, whereas real-time data from smart devices can offer better, regular insights into water consumption,” Mr Daly said.

“It’s important to keep customers not only informed about their water usage, but help them to reduce their consumption and understand the importance of conserving water. Using smart metering and other digital solutions can offer a world of benefits for both customers and governments.”

These technologies have strong potential to revolutionise the Australian council water management by offering real-time data on water usage and network issues, which can improve customer service, provide billing support for vulnerable customers, reduce safety risks, and prevent environmental damage.

When it comes to conserving water supplies, local governments are looking towards smart technology to bring their communities along the digital transformation journey.

Working with councils, SUEZ is committed to getting the most value out of water assets to ensure the longevity of critical water services not only around the world – but in all Australian communities.

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