How Smart Metering Can Save Water In Apartments / Apartment Complexes?
In our watery planet, over-exploitation of water resources by us humans according to UNESCO, our planet will face a 40 percent shortfall in water supply in 2030. That means within a few decades we will face a huge scarcity of water and we may struggle to supply at least 50% of the demand for the drinking water. So, what can be done? We should start making changes in the way we are using water from the bottom level. Here water meters can play a pivotal role. How? Let’s see. Water meters are an inevitable part of water supply systems in apartments or gated communities. What makes it so important? According to WHO, prescribed water consumption for a family of four is 600 liters per day? But in reality, an average Indian family of four members consumes about 1,000 liters of water every day. So on average, they are wasting around 20% of the total supplied water on a daily basis. An efficient water metering system implemented in place may help the consumers to review their usage and bring down the consumption. Likewise, utility providers can also encourage their consumers to reduce consumption, and this can be done more effectively targeting the high consuming consumers.
What are the problems faced under the conventional Water Metering Systems in Apartments?
Is our conventional water metering system is an effective one? Especially, when it comes to the issues with water consumption, monitoring, and billing? Let’s take a look at the problems faced under the current water metering system.
Single Water Meter and Unfair Billing Issues
In the present water metering systems for most of the apartment complexes, there will be only a Common water meter installed for the entire building. So it is difficult or nearly impossible to measure the water consumed by each individual apartment. Plus, each household has to pay a fixed charge for the water, which may be in most cases the proportional share of the individual apartment of the whole monthly charges incurred to the building, and it is calculated based on the carpet area of the apartment. As a result, consumers are billed irrespective of the amount of water each unit consumes. This common expense sharing billing system can raise the household’s water bills.
No Regular Reading
It is important to provide a regular meter reading to control individual water usage. But the water meters that are being used nowadays can only give a reading to the consumers once in a month. That too, with the help of someone employed for meter reading by the supplier.
Over Usage Or Wastage Of Water
The apartment inhabitants will have no idea about their daily water consumption, Thus it may result in excessive usage of water, and resulting wastage of water. And in common water connection model, even if only one person is wasting water, it will affect the entire people’s consumption. And no one would have any idea about where or by whom the water is being wasted.
Nearly Impossible To Detect Water Leakages
The current water metering systems don’t have the ability to detect the water leakages quickly before it worsens. If an underground pipeline is broken and the water is being leaked out, it may take a while for the suppliers to find and fix the problem. It will again result in water wastage.
Intended Water Exploitation
Sometimes, consumers will purposefully overuse the water. As there is a fixed rate and the consumers don’t have to worry about their monthly bills, they may tend to exploit this situation and over use the water. This may result in huge liabilities to the building complex but it may be less affected to the individual consumer and he may continue his action. Similarly, there will be other attempts to alter the meter readings of analog meters if individual meters were installed on every individual aprtment. The conventional water metering system is inefficient to detect these attempts.
Delay in Customer Support and Services
There will be a delay in taking appropriate action for complaints if you are using the traditional water metering system. As the consumption and activities of customers under this system cannot be monitored in real time, the water supplying organization or contractors may not have any idea about the issues occurring at the customer level, and under this system they may not be able to offer a superior customer support service.
Cash Collection Related Issues
Suppliers usually collect the billed amount from the consumers by a cash collection agent. This will cause a headache for the apartment authorities or the concerned person. It is really a challenging monthly task for the cash collecting agency to meet and collect the billed amount from each of the inhabitants in time.
Thus, the problems faced under conventional water metering systems clearly show the need for a new and improved system.
AMR Water meters and Challenges
Need for long lasting battery life
AMR water metering was introduced to address these challenges. AMR Meters (Automated Meter Reading Meters) helped to solve the problems up to an extent. But the main challenge faced by these water meters is the quickly drying up battery life of its electronic module.
Lack of pre built software systems
Another challenge of implementing this water meter is, even if a company found a meter with effective battery life, they may need to build their own billing system to integrate the meter reading. Then only they may be able to use it for the billing and monitoring purposes. Usually the investment requirement for building such a system would be large.
These challenges made the industry feel skeptical about using new technology water meters.
With the evolution of new-age IoT communication technologies, our researchers have come up with a solution for this. Our product Flow is a simple, efficient and reliable, smart water metering and billing system. It comes with a long lasting battery life and a SaaS-based software stack including billing and monitoring system.
What Flow Smart Water Metering System Can Do?
As the term, ‘smart’ indicates, the Flow smart water metering system is smart in all sense. We use an IoT based technology with a SaaS-based water billing and monitoring system. This can provide you with end to end solutions for your water metering and billing issues.
Individual Meter Reading and Fair Billing
Flow smart water metering system can take individual meter reading automatically based on the consumption. This will lead to a fair billing, not affecting the healthy relationship between the individual apartment owners. Also, it will help the individual to manage the proper use of water, and they can reduce the cost and consumption of water.
Regular Meter Reading
Unlike the conventional meter reading systems, “Flow” can send the regular reading to your mobile phone. The Consumers will get notified with their Consumption every day. They don’t have to wait for a meter reader to come occasionally to provide with the readings. With the aid of this daily notification of 4 times reading of their consumption, people can reduce the money they spent on the water.
Identify over usage or Wastage of water
Self-identification of over usage of water can aid in reducing daily water consumption. This will help the user to find out exactly how they are wasting water and how can avoid it from happening in the future.
Easy detection of Leakages
Our interconnected network of smart water meters in the IoT network will help us in spotting leakages in real-time. That too will be notified before the consumer detect or complain to the supplier company. No need to worry if the problem lies in a difficult or hard to reach area. Flow can easily find it with no extra support or equipment.
Identification of Tampering and Fraud
Our system is equipped with sensors to identify any possible tampering such as mechanical or magnetic tampering. In such scenarios, the system will notify the concerned suppliers via alert messages. Thus we can effectively inspect the issue to prevent any loss to the supplier.
Improved Customer Service
Get proactive service from your supplier. No need to wait in line to get connected to the customer support team or wait for any kind of action from their side. All issues related to water supply in the apartment will be solved within a short span of time, even before the consumer identifies them.
Online Payment Facility
Say bye to cash collection agents or intermediate cashiers. Now consumers can pay directly to the water supplier within no time using Flow easy and fast online bill payment facility. Flow provides safe and secure payment for the users at their convenience.
Predictive Analysis Using AI
Flow can predict how much a consumer will be billed or how much water they are going to consume in the future based on their historical consumption models. This is done using predictive analysis on various usage patterns using AI technology.
No more confusing or complicated meter reading and related processes. Now the consumer can monitor and manage their utility accounts and payments using our user friendly mobile applications.