The British water industry supply chain trade association, the Society of British Water and Wastewater Industries (SBWWI), has made a call for smart water metering, saying that it would bring “significant benefits to the water industry and consumers.”

In a recent position paper the SBWWI says that domestic water metering in the U.K. progresses in a piecemeal fashion, with each water company having different approaches, policies and metering coverage. Where meters are installed, they are usually “dumb”; largely because water companies struggle to make an economic case for smart meters to the regulator, Ofwat, and there is no clear policy and planning for the future of smart metering.

Without this, and without a common focus, water companies have no shared vision of what smart metering solutions they would like to see in their future plans, and have not agreed a common specification for a smart metering system.

Further, with the energy smart metering agenda fast progressing, there is a risk that without urgent representation of the water sector, the infrastructure networks being put in place for energy smart metering will not be able to cater for the future needs of the water sector. Separate provisions would be resource inefficient and, in the long term, significantly more costly for customers.

The SBWWI says the industry needs:

  1. Innovation and development of appropriate products and services, through understanding of the industry’s and customer’s requirements.
  2. A strong, single voice representing the interests of the water sector in the energy smart metering agenda. Interoperability protocols need to be established for the energy and water sectors and that the smart meter infrastructure can service the needs of electricity, gas and water consumers.
  3. A National Smart Metering Forum, led by the government or one of the water industry regulators, where water companies, regulators, the supply chain, customers and other stakeholders can work together on a common agenda for smart water metering and to provide leadership to the industry nationally and at the European level.