smart water meters
Macro blue water droplet from faucet with variety of reflections, on blue background.

A utility in Chile aims to reduce losses through low flow meters while in South Africa, estimated billing may soon be a thing of the past for Buffalo City residents.

Buffalo City Metro overhauls water meters

According to South Africa local media outlet, The Dispatch, "the days of 'thumb-sucked' water readings will soon be over for some Buffalo City Metro [BCM] residents." 

Engineering services portfolio head for BCM, Ncedo Kumbaca, said the changes were in response to the general complaint of “thumb-sucked” meter readings.

“We have in the past had troubles accessing the water meters, which most of the time were inside the people’s yards.

“We have since come up with the idea of having them outside the property for easy access to municipal meter readers,” he said.

However, resident are sceptical that the changes will make any difference.

Says one local inhabitant: “We have [in] one month been billed over R36000, yet we don’t have a pool, there are just two people staying in the house. With investigation, we found that it was a fault with the municipality.”

According to the city's annual report, water sales have decreased by 10.2% – which has been attributed to an increase in non revenue water.

BCM is going to be undertaking a review of its meter reading management system in order to improve the quality and frequency of meter reading, as well as an integrated system to reduce human error.

“The extent of sales metering, the quality of meter reading and the completeness of the billing database have been identified as being key areas requiring attention,” states the annual report.

According to the annual report: “The extent of sales metering, the quality of meter reading and the completeness of the billing database have been identified as being key areas requiring attention,”

ESSBIO pilots smart water meters

Essbio, one of Chile’s largest water utilities, is going to be improving network efficiency through the installation of smart water meters.

The meters, produced by Danish metering company Kamstrup, is part of a pilot project that will enable great reliability over the quality of supply and clarity on usage.

The project will see the installation of 6,000 ultrasonic meters which are able to measure flows as low as two litres of water per hour.

Essbio is experiencing significant losses due to the inability of the current water meters to measure low flow rates.

The manufacturer claims the meters can maintain this low start flow with precision throughout their expected lifetime.

“With the installation of the new intelligent meters, our company has started an innovation process in commercial services, with a short-term objective of improving the quality and precision in metering as well as a longer-term one where we are looking for efficiency opportunities by using data integration and automation,”said Víctor Hugo Bustamante, commercial manager at Essbio

According to Ramón López Farías, Kamstrup sales manager for Latin America: “This easy-to-use solution will provide highly accurate readings while reducing the amount of time its employees spend reading meters, all without having to disturb customers.”