Western Australia state water company Water Corporation is to pilot 16,000 smart water meters in the capital Perth.
The pilot, the state’s largest, is planned to install more than 16,000 digital smart water meters at homes and businesses across the city.
The aim is to provide insights on the benefits of the smart meters, including how data can help customers change water use behaviours and which meters work best in local conditions.
The first meters are expected to be installed with about 250 customers in west Perth this month, with the wider rollout planned to take place from October.
“We know by empowering people with information about how they use water, they’re more likely to take action to reduce their consumption,” says Water Minister Simone McGurk.
“Through this pilot, we’ll gain valuable insights into how to best utilise smart meters in Perth. This will inform the pace and scale of future installations, and help Water Corporation on its journey to become a leading digital utility.”
The Water Corporation already has installed some 40,000 smart meters, particularly in larger commercial properties and in regional areas where there may be property access issues including Kalgoorlie-Boulder in the east, parts of the Pilbara in the north and Yanchep to the north of Perth.
In those locations the technology has been found to improve safety and efficiency by removing the need for the physical meter reading.
The smart water meters transmit data on an hourly basis, which should lead to the early detection of leaks or other unusual water use patterns with their implications for customer bills.
Average rainfall across southern Western Australia has fallen by 20% since the 1970s, leading to an 80% reduction in dam inflows, according to a statement.
This in turn has increased Perth’s reliance on water sources such as desalination.
The smart water meters are expected to support both more efficient use of water resources as well as the Water Corporation’s digitalisation journey.
Trial participants will have access to an online Water Corporation account from around mid-2024.
The pilot is planned to finish in mid-2025.