To reduce water consumption, it is essential to base all final users’ water bills on actual water consumption, whether they are a household, industrial plant, commercial building, public building and so on, as knowing how much they use and the related cost leads users to consume water more consciously.
Monitoring water consumption can only be done if conventional or smart water meters are installed for each residential unit and other users. Thanks to smart water meters in particular, it is possible to obtain real-time information on how, when and where water is being consumed.
Smart meters allow water use to be monitored remotely and in a timely manner. It also allows, for example, consumption patterns of different customers to be analysed or weaknesses of the water distribution network to be identified. This sort of device can even enable the identification of abnormal water usage that may be linked to leakages in the system.
Smart meters not only increase the accuracy of measuring how much water is consumed, it also reduces costs thanks to the remote reading and collection of data.
Smart metering consists of an assortment of components and procedures, including the following key processes in water use data:
- measurement and storage of data in data loggers
- transfer (also called automatic meter reading) (e.g. Mohassel et al., 2014)
- processing and analysis
- feedback to consumers.
The lifetime of smart meters is significantly longer than conventional meters – usually 15 years compared to about six.
The better understanding of water consumption achieved through the smart meter system also helps city and urban planners to exploit opportunities to make the supply system more efficient.