300,000 smart water meters to be installed in homes, firms

Users can keep tabs on how much water is being used via an app; eventual goal is to install them islandwide

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.

The smart water meter automatically reads water consumption several times a day and transmits the readings to PUB.
The smart water meter automatically reads water consumption several times a day and transmits the readings to PUB. PHOTO: PUB

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.

  • 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.

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 im-prove 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2019, with the headline '300,000 smart water meters to be installed in homes, firms'. Print Edition | Subscribe