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New smart water systems provide value beyond metering

 

Smart water management has moved beyond the rudimentaries of sensing and metering to include data analytics and communications, as well as systems that can be remotely controlled

 

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April 14, 2022 Namitha Madhu
 
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New smart water systems provide value beyond metering
 

On account of the Earth's dwindling water resources, with each passing year, the focus on water saving systems has only grown.

The valuable role of IoT-driven water management solutions has long since been established. However, nowadays smart water management isn't just metering. It has moved beyond the rudimentaries of sensing and metering to include data analytics and communications, as well as systems that can be remotely controlled.

This is according to Dr Dan Simmons, Operations Director of VERTECO

"Now, because of increasing wireless technologies such as LoRaWAN, Sigfox, NB IoT, and 5g, it's not so much about the metering itself and the sensing. It's more about the communication side of it that along with the more scalable architecture of services like Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud, that means that the operational side of it is more robust."

Nowadays, the most advanced smart water management systems, besides collecting water use data in real time and altering water leaks, can also switch on or off pipes remotely.

"We're not not only metering; we're also turning the water off, so that we can prevent the damaging escape of water," he said.

Smart water metering systems have also become increasingly feasible to use. Many can be retrofitted into existing buildings.

"In terms of retrofit, there's multiple ways to easily install these equipment. Either you go downstream into small pipes, and then it's fairly simple for a standard plumber to plumb these in. Or you can even have compound meters, which doesn't require you to cut the pipe at all," he says.

Their set up requires no additional plumbing and the systems can be moved around the building piping system. By using these systems, property managers and facility managers can bring down utility costs for tenants.

"For the tenant. It's all about catching where water is wasted, where water is just going down to the drain. Because if you don't monitor, you can't manage it,' he says. 

These smart water management systems provide a 'high resolution' view of how exactly water is wasted, from where and how, 

"Having that higher resolution, seeing exactly when the water is going is wasted, means you're able to very quickly navigate to that wasted part and you can fix it quite easily. So therefore 30% to 40% of the bill can be saved quite quickly," he says.

However these systems are not that popular in the UAE or the region at the moment. Dr Simmons accounts this to the lack of awareness and also the cost involved in setting up these systems.

"I think it's because there's not really been an emphasis on it. Perhaps it's because the technology hasn't been there in the past. It's not something people are Googling for or people are requesting quotes for," he says.

Nevertheless, property management and facility management companies are interested in the systems once they come to know about it, seeing the benefits they bring.

"As soon as a company becomes aware of it, they're all for it, because the savings in water bills speak for themselves. And the savings actually then act as the capital to pay for the fixing and conversion of waterless technologies," he says.

Traditional homeowners are usually unaware of small water leaks in their systems. They don't get detected, and hence, can't be corrected.

"If they don't know that they're losing money, then it's very difficult for them to spend money to fix it. So it's a bit of a catch 22 situation," he adds.