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First 9, 600 High-Tech Water Meters to Be Delivered by May

Photo: JIS Photographer

President of the National Water Commission (NWC), Mark Barnett, addressing a contract signing ceremony last year for the supply of 450,000 new high tech electronic water meters by German company, Diehl Metering. Diehl was awarded a US$43.9 million contract to supply the meters to the NWC for islandwide installation.

The first 9,600 solid state water meters being supplied to the Government by Diehl Metering are expected to be delivered within another two months, after which the National Water Commission (NWC) will begin installation.

A total of 450,000 meters are to be provided by the German company, under a US$43.9 million contract awarded last year to replace mechanical water meters with more efficient, high-tech electronic devices.

The exercise, which is to be undertaken by the NWC over a five-year period, will result in greater accuracy in the measurement of water consumption in each household.

With the implementation of the smart water infrastructure technology, it is expected that most customers will see an increase in their bills due to more accurate readings.

As a result, President of the NWC, Mark Barnett, is urging householders to closely monitor their consumption habits and check regularly for leaks.

“We tend to ignore every drip…until it starts to run. We encourage you to (inspect) your external plumbing around your premises,” he said, pointing out that toilets are the greatest point of leakage and waste in any single home.

Mr. Barnett, who was speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, also suggested that persons consider purchasing water-saving devices if necessary, to ensure that they have greater control of their water consumption practices.

At the contract signing held last December, the NWC President said the installation of the new meters is a step forward in improving the customer experience in doing business with the NWC.

“Improved use of technology in our utility is critical…the water sector right across the world…is usually the last to accept new technologies and so for us, we want to demonstrate our commitment to change that mindset,” he said.

Pointing out that 75 to 80 per cent of customer complaints are normally related to billing, Mr. Barnett noted that the installation of the new technology would significantly reduce this trend, given its many capabilities.

He noted that the electronic meters will enable consumers to track their water consumption on a daily basis; detect leaks on their property; know what the flow rate is and how much water is used at certain times; and receive alarms if there are any changes in regular consumption.

“We want to put that in your hands. Rather than making complaints to us, you would’ve been well notified when there is an issue on your compound,” he said.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, who also spoke at the signing ceremony, explained that the procurement of the new meters is a continuation of a project, which saw the installation of 50,000 solid state meters supplied by Diehl as part of the NWC’s work to improve efficiencies in its network.

“We will be able to change almost all the meters… and take care of additional metering over the next few years,” he noted.

He said a significant feature of the technology is that it will increase the NWC’s capacity to more accurately account for water supplied, which will reduce losses due to non-revenue water (NRW).

“Having satisfactory metering systems is important so we can measure accurately what people buy, because while we don’t want to extort the customers, we are ensuring that what we supply is paid for and we can keep water rates reasonable,” he said.

NRW refers to water that has been produced and is lost before it reaches the customer. Losses can occur as a result of leaks, theft, or metering inaccuracies.

According to recent reports, more than 50 per cent of the country’s water is lost through this avenue.

Dr. Chang further noted that while in most cases, the customer will pay “a little more money,” given the increased capacity to measure water more efficiently, there may be lower costs for some consumers.

He said through this project, along with other ongoing initiatives, the Government is continuing its work to correct inefficiencies in its water supply system, which is also hampered by old infrastructure including old pipes and faulty insufficient pump houses.

The solid state meters are rated among the best in the water industry, utilising some of the latest technologies and feature batteries that will last for a minimum of 15 years.


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