Australian councils and water utilities are facing increased challenges in their water management due to tight budgets, ageing infrastructure, and the impacts of climate change. Here are some long-term water network solutions water service providers can implement to provide reliable, sustainable services to their communities.

In order to proactively solve current and future water management challenges, Australian water service providers need to implement long term, innovative approaches now. By focusing efforts on the innovation of new research and designs, councils and water utilities can create a holistic, circular approach to water management, rather than only a short-term, temporary solution.

Choosing a solution for your community

Innovative digital solutions for water management should focus on analysing real-time data, communicating with end-users, increasing sustainability, improving asset efficiency, and proactively detecting asset faults or leaks. With the increased data available thanks to digitised assets, water service providers can understand how to conserve water, maintain asset quality and strengthen their relationships with their communities.

Digitising water assets allows service providers to select a customised solution from a range of technologies – such as IoT devices and smart meters – to best suit financial, environmental and community needs.

Implementing digital solutions into local assets

Central Highlands Water (CHW), a water and wastewater utility servicing the Central Highlands region in Victoria, including Ballarat, Maryborough and Daylesford has recently entered into a contract with global water management company, SUEZ, to upgrade CHW’s existing water meters with 75,000 fully integrated digital water meters.

Aiming to begin installations in the late 2023 and to be completed by 2026, the digital upgrade is intended to provide a range of solutions to local challenges. The introduction of digital meters will enable an improved customer experience through the availability of near real-time data, which can assist with leak detection and to identify areas where water can be saved by both CHW and their customers.

Digital meters are able to provide customers with exact water usage readings at increased accuracy and speed. The rollout will also reduce safety risks for CHW’s meter reading team.

By automating the reading process, CHW staff will no longer be required to travel long distances on roads and access customers’ properties, offering both safety and environmental improvements. As the meter data will be collected in near real-time through digital channels, it will also speed up the repair process for any faults or leaks.

By detecting and reducing water leakage, the digital water meter installations will help CHW’s customers identify areas where water can be saved, resulting in a lower water bill. CHW’s Managing Director, Jeff Haydon, said,

“We are focused on providing digital solutions that deliver customer benefits and importantly improve our customers’ experience. With this new digital water meter rollout, we can provide our community with better service usage data, help customers to reduce bill costs, and proactively engage on water conservation.”

The digital meter upgrade is a move strongly supported by CHW’s local community; through the utility’s extensive community engagement, customers have encouraged CHW’s digital transformation.

Creating circular solutions, the smart way

SUEZ’s Business Development Manager, Laurence Daly, emphasised the proven effectiveness of digital solutions to increase customer satisfaction rates. “Water providers are struggling with old challenges, and old solutions are no longer viable. New solutions like digital water meters improve asset efficiency and reduce the costs and resources needed for local communities,” Mr Daly said.

“We don’t want customer savings to be an uphill battle. We’re focusing on circular, holistic water management strategies to provide long-term solutions to current and future challenges.”

SUEZ has recently developed a strategic plan highlighting similar objectives to the digital water meter project. The company’s plan will focus on implementing circular water and wastewater management solutions that increase innovation and strengthen investments for water providers and local communities.

Through its new research and development (R&D) commitments, SUEZ is exploring innovative digital technologies that offer water providers new, customisable water management solutions to existing – and future – challenges around Australia.

By implementing digital solutions to local challenges, water providers can support the growth and development of internal climate adaptation and improve communication strategies within local regions.

Discover how SUEZ can help councils improve their water and wastewater infrastructure

This sponsored editorial is brought to you by SUEZ. For more information, visit https://www.suez.com

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