Sunday 14 April 2019

Smart water meters to be rolled out to 300,000 properties here to help save water

Firms, homes to get smart meters to track water usage
Users can keep tabs on how much water is being used via an app; eventual goal is to install them islandwide
By Cheryl Teh, The Straits Times, 13 Apr 2019

The water meters you see outside your home may be on their way out. Their better and brighter cousins, smart water meters, will soon be coming to town to update you on just how much water you are consuming.

For a start, 300,000 smart meters will be installed on residential and commercial premises here.

Singapore's national water agency PUB announced yesterday that the installation process will be completed by 2023, with the eventual goal of having such devices installed islandwide.

There are currently some 1.6 million water meters on premises across the island. These are read manually once every two months.

Customers are billed every month, with their water consumption estimated every alternate month.

PUB also expects that smart meters will help people and companies keep tabs on their water usage via a smartphone app.

This is because the smart water meter will allow for water consumption to be read automatically several times a day, and transmitted accurately and remotely back to PUB on a daily basis.

Through a mobile application or online portal, customers will have ready access to their daily water usage data. They will also receive high-usage notifications and leak alerts promptly.

Pilot trials in Punggol and Yuhua earlier had shown promising results. A total of 800 households reported an average of 5 per cent in water savings, said PUB.

Ms Eleanor Goh, 45, a resident of Punggol and an administrative assistant in a local business, said that she found the smart meters easy to read and beneficial for tracking water consumption, and was looking forward to them being pushed out islandwide.

"These meters are good for me because I can monitor my water supply properly. It makes me conscious of whether or not I am wasting water, and how much I am using daily," Ms Goh said.

Additionally, customers will not have to pay for the smart water meter and its installation.

These smart meters will also allow PUB to optimise resources as well as detect anomalies such as leaks early.

"Our challenge in PUB is to give our customers the water equivalent of the speedometer and fuel gauge, and so empower them to become smarter users of water," said PUB chief executive Ng Joo Hee.

The digital smart water meter would be just the thing do this, he added.

"Enabled by information on tap, something previously unavailable to end-consumers, we are convinced that they will be able to meaningfully adjust behaviour and become more efficient consumers, saving water and money in the process," Mr Ng said.

The agency said this will improve resource efficiency and augment PUB's capabilities in early leak detection within the water supply network and on customers' premises.

In another step along this path, PUB yesterday called a tender to appoint an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) specialist to evaluate and advise on meter devices and technology, communications protocol, and provide insights for enhancing operational efficiency and water savings.

PUB told The Straits Times that it will consider several factors in appointing the AMI specialist, including technical capabilities in communications technology, automated meter performance and meter function, a proven track record and experience in similar large-scale AMI implementation.

PUB will thereafter call the tender for the installation of around 300,000 smart water meters early next year, and the first smart water meters will be installed by early 2021.

Smarter way to track daily water usage

With smart water meters, water consumption will be automatically read several times a day. The readings will be transmitted accurately and remotely to national water agency PUB daily.

Through a mobile application or online portal, consumers can find out how much water they are using daily. This makes it easier for households and businesses to track their water usage and take action to save water.

With the app, users no longer have to wait until their bill arrives to monitor their consumption.

Rainwater to be harvested at two new housing estates
System to be piloted in Punggol Northshore as part of HDB's water-saving initiatives
By Tiffany Fumiko Tay, The Straits Times, 15 Apr 2019

Two upcoming housing estates will help conserve water by harvesting rainwater for non-potable uses like washing common areas.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in a Facebook post on Saturday that the Housing Board has developed several innovative water-saving initiatives, including the UrbanWater Harvesting System.

"HDB has centralised and integrated the detention tank, rainwater harvesting tank and the treatment system so that surface run-off from the entire precinct can be collected, stored and recycled," he wrote.

Through this system, rainwater is collected in a harvesting tank before being treated for use such as watering plants, which helps to reduce potable water demand, said Mr Wong, who is also Second Minister for Finance.

This system will be piloted in Punggol Northshore and can be extended later to other new precincts, he added.

The Straits Times understands that selected housing districts, each comprising six to eight blocks, will be part of the trial when Punggol Northshore Residences is completed next year.

The new Tengah town will incorporate smart technologies, including the UrbanWater Harvesting System, it was announced last year.

"Every drop of water counts and we must press on with innovative ways to better utilise our precious water resources," wrote Mr Wong.

Associate Professor Darren Sun from Nanyang Technological University's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering said the move will help save a substantial amount of drinkable water, most of which is used for cleaning purposes.

Singapore's heavy rainfall can be turned into a new stream of usable water by utilising the flood prevention infrastructure, he added.

"Rather than let run-off go to the sea, we can collect it and extend our capacity and water resilience," said Prof Sun.

Other countries such as Australia are also moving in this direction, he added.

The removal of biofilm bacteria together with a simple filtration process can produce clean water that uses less electricity and manpower than drinking water, and will be relatively inexpensive, he said, adding: "A lot of water is used for washing purposes, from car washing to the floors at hawker centres. This can provide a service to the community at a lower cost."

No comments:

Post a Comment