New research suggests smart water technology could see biggest growth in installed base of smart meters in the next five years.As the global smart meter market for electricity and gas is reaching a degree of maturity, the focus is shifting toward modernising the ageing water distribution network, offering substantial market opportunity for OEMs, utilities and end-users.
This is according to a new report on the smart water metering landscape released this week by global market consulting and research firm ABI Research.
The report findings predict the need of utilities’ to efficiently manage limited fresh water in the face of increasing demand due to rapid urbanization will drive growth in the adoption of smart water meters.
Adarsh Krishnan, senior analyst at ABI Research, said: "Smart water meters and data analytics are more critical components for water utilities.
"They can help improve distribution efficiency by reducing leakages and also serve to implement and monitor the effectiveness of water conservation programs.
"The lack of regulatory framework or a government mandate in the water sector has resulted in a lack of shared vision to modernize the water network."
As smart water meters are battery powered devices, choosing the right connectivity solution poses another unique challenge, says the analyst.
Long battery life of more than 10 years and signal propagation to reach meters that are often underground in pavements or driveways are critical to connect meters.
The report also notes that Itron, Landis+Gyr, Kamstrup, Diehl, Sensus and ARAD, among others, offer end-to-end solutions and continue to dominate the vendor landscape.
In regard to connectivity of smart meters, the report predicts the number of wireless WAN connections will surpass wireless mesh connections by as much as 5% in 2021.
Smart water meters in the UK
The release of the report follows early December's announcement by UK's water distribution company Southern Water that its advanced metering infrastructure project in south and south-east England is saving 27 million litres of treated water a day.
62% of Southern Water’s smart meter points - installed since 2010 - are recording a GBP162 decrease in bills per year and in the city of Southampton alone, consumers with smart meters are saving 5.3 million litres a day.
The announcement of the benefits came at a time when the utility had deployed smart meters to 90% of its consumers.
Southern Water had installed almost 450,000 water meters in homes across Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight.
Commenting on the development, Richard Price, director of engineering and construction at Southern Water, said: "Our customers have worked hard to reduce their consumption by 16.5%, against a national average of 10% when having a water meter installed."