Water Consumption Monitoring
In water consumption monitoring, utility companies or real-estate owners can implement smart water meters to monitor customers’ consumption in great detail. While customer losses (due to customers’ behavior) cannot compete with the extent of physical losses (due to the distribution system), consumption metering is still highly valuable in helping companies cut their losses.
Benefits of monitoring
From a business perspective, the collected data can be used to issue consumption bills, detect excessive water usage (which can indicate leakage, theft, or accidents), and plan for structural changes.
On a service level, customers can enjoy detailed reports on their consumption, which is considered important both from financial and environmental aspects. Customers can be offered the opportunity to monitor their consumption in real-time through service apps, which in turn also can allow them to quickly and accurately receive customer service when issues arise.
A local case
In Guyana, Guyana Water Incorporated saw how their billing had been dramatically incorrect when they installed water meters on trial. The company had assumed that each customer consumed about 10 cubic meters of water per month when the actual number turned out to be around 40 cubic meters on average.
The company’s response has been to now invest in a complete water metering system, and they plan to spend the increased revenue on remedying the causes of physical losses. This response is an exemplary showcasing of how to deal with water losses and build a system that will give positive results for many years to come.
Water meters is an umbrella term for a wide range of commercial devices that measure water consumption. All the sensor types can help reduce losses over the entire water distribution network and aid utilities in optimizing their distribution
Positive displacement water meters
Positive displacement water meters have a hollow cylindrical oscillating piston that moves with the water and reads its volume. The meters can measure flow rate to an accuracy of at least ±0.1%, with high repeatability.
While being the most popular alternative in small or residential properties, displacement water meters lack reliability compared to other alternatives. They also require continuous maintenance, such as recalibration, due to their dynamic parts.
Common issues include pressure loss and inaccurate recording of flow (with the recording of airflow and reverse flow of water), while they are not negatively affected by pulsating flow.
Users also need to cleanse the water of particles greater than 100 µm before it enters these meters, as clearances are very narrow.
Multi-jet flow meters
These sensors are highly accurate for small commercial and residential applications (for pipes up to 2 inches/5 cm).
The meters consist of an internal chamber surrounded by several ports into which water flows to increase the movement of an impeller. The impeller spins at a known speed while the water flow increases the speed of the total rotation. The faster the impeller spins, the higher the water’s velocity becomes, revealing the quantity of water flowing.
Like displacement meters, multi-jet flow meters suffer from mechanical parts that require maintenance. They also record airflow and reverse water flow, which can give inaccurate readings.
Electromagnetic flow meters
These static meters are more expensive than many alternatives and are mainly employed for industrial and large-scale commercial applications. Subcategories of this water meter type include transit time flow meters and doppler flow meters.
Electromagnetic flow meters contain electrodes that capture voltage, with an electromagnetic coil that generates a magnetic field at a 90-degree angle to the direction of the water flow. The transmitter then processes the measured voltage to create a standardized output signal or display it in a metering device.
Electromagnetic flow meters require conductive water, and the conductivity generated by the water needs to be higher than the conductivity generated by the magnetic coils, which is why these sensors are more suitable for large-scale applications.
Like displacement meters, electromagnetic flow meters require continuous maintenance. They need to be cleaned both mechanically and electrically to avoid measurement errors (such as from gas bubble formation in the device).
Ultrasonic sensors are among the most popular sensor types in these applications. With no moving parts and high accuracy, these are dependable devices offered at reasonable pricing. At Sensative and our customers, ultrasonic sensors are the main choice for water consumption monitoring.
We bring up the functionality of ultrasonic sensors in more detail in Chapter. 4 of this whitepaper, which you can find here.
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Our DiMS IoT platform Yggio is a powerhouse developed for, and praised by, smart building owners, smart utilities and smart cities. If you are interested in employing Yggio with your sensors of choice, want to see a demo, or need help tailoring a solution for your specific needs, contact our sales team to evaluate your requirements and possibilities.