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How apartment complexes can manage their water better through Smart Water metering?

Saturday, January 19, 2019

By Vivek Shukla, CEO and Founder, Smarterhomes Technologies

Did you know that an unnoticeable leaking flush can waste up to 700 litres in a day? You might be unaware about the ways in which you are squandering a precious resource. From accidental leaks to utter negligence, there are many ways we waste water.  An average Indian household, living in an apartment, with a family of four consumes about 800 litres of water every day. An urban family only needs 135 litres per head per day without compromising the quality of life. Therefore, it's proven that most families waste roughly 35-40% of water.

Despite facing water shortage year after year, there is little awareness about the need and the methods to control and judiciously use water. Most apartment complexes do not have a pay per use model for water and water costs remain hidden as a component in the maintenance bill. Even though the water consumption is different for each household, the bill is calculated by dividing the number of households by the total amount. The individual consumptions are never equal which results in most residents paying for others' consumption as well. Thus the true cost of water is not known to the consumers. This can be easily addressed by introducing smart water meters in each individual apartment.

A smart meter in an apartment complex offers  two fold advantage. One, it allows each individual household to keep track of its water usage and reduce wastage, and two, it helps beat the standard practice of collecting a common flat rate from all houses as water bill, regardless of usage.  When people are aware of the quantity of water they consume and have to pay for what they use, there is an immediate behavioural change to bring down the consumption.

For example, GK Meadows, a nested society in Bangalore has seen a stark difference in water usage post installation of smart water meters. Prior to smart water metering, the apartment community with a total of 90 flats was using upto 42,000 litres of water every day. After installation of smart meters, there was a 40% reduction in consumption with a daily usage of 24,000 litres. Their water bills dropped from an average of Rs. 1250/- per month per apartment to an average of Rupees 800/- per month. This clearly depicts that when people are made aware of their consumption in real time, they start to monitor their usage and become more vigilant.

If all high rise buildings that currently do not have any kind of metering adopt smart water metering solution it can result in tremendous savings, not only water but money. Some of the benefits of smart watering include:

Fair Billing: A large chunk of the population in fast growing cities reside in high-rise buildings that charge a flat fee per month for water consumption. This results in some residents paying for others’ usage as well. It is not only unfair but leads to discomfort and heartburn amongst the conscious residents as they feel unrewarded for their efforts in reducing water wastage.  Smart Water metering enables housing societies to measure and charge individuals on actual consumption. Automatic leakage detection: A leaky toilet can waste more than 700 litres of water every day that is equivalent to India’s average daily consumption of a household. A dripping faucet or a leaky toilet flush remains unnoticed until the consumer gets the bill.

Smart water meters provide real time leakage detection systems that can quickly alert the consumer about the incident, and corrective action can be taken.  

All round cost reduction: A Smart housing society with smart water meters not only brings in fairness in billing but it also reduces upto 35% costs in the overall water spend.  With benefits like reduction in water consumption, reduced energy bill due to minimal need to pump water to overhead tanks, lesser sewerage charge and better optimisation of their STP (Sewage Treatment Plant), Smart water meters provide an effective way to manage water in housing societies

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