Water scarcity in Asia-Pacific countries alongside ageing infrastructure and increasing urbanisation are three factors driving the market for smart water meters in the region.
New research from Frost & Sullivan released this week forecasts that China, India and Indonesia are the hottest prospects for smart water meter vendors.
The need in these countries to reduce water losses, lessen distribution inefficiencies, and improve water treatment and sanitation facilities will drive the acquisition of smart water network technology, according to analysts.
Why deploy smart water meters
Within the APAC region, the need for smart water meters however varies according to macroeconomic factors, said Frost & Sullivan.
As Australia, Japan and Singapore have 100% access to water and sanitation, smart water meter opportunities lie in the retrofitting of old water utilities,” said Melvin Leong, Environment & Building Technologies Research Manager at Frost & Sullivan.
Meanwhile, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand have a need to improve water treatment and sanitation facilities using smart water meter solutions.
And China and India strongly require smart meter infrastructure, considering the lower availability of water for people, especially in rural areas.
Challenges to smart meter rollouts
However, the report also highlights how insufficient documentation on the benefits of smart water meters will hinder the ability of water meter vendors to convince utilities to commit to costly large-scale rollouts.
Mr Leong said capital requirements are spread across decades presenting a continuous financial challenge as opposed to a one-time challenge.
Cost is therefore the topmost concern for water utilities contemplating SWM implementation.
Frost & Sullivan analyst Eunkyung Shin commented that regulation is needed to drive the market.
"Policy amendments by government bodies will be the biggest influencers for adoption of SWM solutions.”
Hong Kong water meter deal
The research findings come as Hong Kong’s Water Supplies Department (WSD) has commissioned Malaysia-based water services company George Kent to supply 600,000 water meters in a deal valued at US$7.2 million (RM31.9 million)
The engineering company, which specialises in water-related projects, said the meters will be delivered in 24 batches with the first shipment to commence in October 2015.
George Kent’s water meter manufacturing facility based in Puchong, Selangor has a total production capacity of two million water meters per year.