Speaking to the Observer, Sir John Armitt – chair of the National Infrastructure Committee – failure to make considerable new investments now in water supply equipment means that more than twice as much will need to be spent on distributing bottled water from region to region, as drought conditions become more frequent in the future.
The Guardian reports that although water companies have made some improvements to infrastructure, almost three billion litres of water is lost through leakage in England every day.
Sir John observed that water has to be paid for in one way or another, whether that’s by stopping water leaks, moving water around the country or through investment in new reservoirs.
Water metering has now been put forward as a potential solution – and, in fact, the water industry considers it to be the best, most effective way of going about reducing water consumption.
Those households in England and Wales that do have water meters installed use 33 litres a day less than the national average of 141 litres… suggesting that a significant amount of water could indeed be saved if metering was made compulsory. Currently, only around half the households in England and Wales have these meters installed.
Businesses can also benefit from automated meter reading (AMR) and, as with domestic customers, it’s an effective way to reduce water usage and consumption across your entire site.
This technique can be used successfully to continuously monitor water usage in any kind of property. Also known as data logging, it’s a useful tool that allows for vulnerable areas and potential issues to be identified quickly, so that water-saving solutions can be changed over time depending on what’s taking place.
A smart meter is installed so that you can monitor exactly how much water is being used at hourly intervals, measuring the water flow and sending data back. If a spike is seen, a team can be called in to check if there’s a problem and act accordingly.
If trends in data change over time, it suggests that the needs of your business have also changed and, in this instance, efficiency strategies can then evolve to account for this and ensure maximum savings over time.
It’s possible to break down water usage by building and department, shift, equipment or tenant, so you can easily see what’s going on and where, helping you to focus your efforts in the right direction.
Water meters are also very effective at water leak detection. One of the biggest problems where leaks are concerned is that they take place hidden away below ground, so you may have an issue that you’re just not aware of until signs of water damage start to manifest themselves.
But with a smart meter, you don’t need to wait for signs to appear. With a benchmark set for expected water flow, a spike in the water flow data data indicates a problem… saving water and saving you time and money.