Smart water: The 5 biggest pain points and how to address them
By: SGN Staff
By Doug McCall
Water utilities have long expressed concerns about five major pain points: 1) leaks, 2) non-revenue water, 3) theft, 4) customer service and 5) an overall need to conserve resources, including water and energy. They understand the time is now to address these five pain points and preserve this precious resource for future generations.
Fortunately, there are technologies available today that address these five common pain points with measurable results. The key: implementation of a smart water network.
A smart water network is an integrated set of products, solutions and systems that enables utilities to continuously monitor and diagnose problems, prioritize and manage maintenance issues, and use data to optimize all aspects of the water distribution network.
Overcoming the budget challenge
Here’s the thing. Budgets are tight which means most utilities are not in a position to immediately implement every aspect of a smart water network. That’s why solutions need to be adaptable, flexible and most importantly, sustainable.
One size doesn’t need to fit all and putting solutions in place one at time with a network that can support future applications is proving to be a wise approach. For instance, utilities such as Chesterfield County, South Carolina and the City of O’Fallon, Missouri are currently using their smart water networks for leak detection and insight into customer usage.
Residents of Chesterfield County were losing several hundred gallons of water a day due to leaks from faulty plumbing. The county implemented a Sensus smart water network in 2010 and now alerts 12 to 18 customers a day to leaks in their homes or businesses.
The City of O’Fallon deployed a smart water network that boosted their meter accuracy to 100 percent and cut their unaccounted for water in half.
The increased accuracy of the system is just one benefit of O’Fallon’s smart water network. The ability to retrieve on-demand meter data has helped improve customer service, operational efficiency and revenue.