Water Meter Replacement Program

To become more efficient and to reduce our water resources, Council has commenced the process of replacing outdated manual-read water meters with new, automatic devices called ‘smart meters’. This is one of the actions we are undertaking to better manage our water infrastructure to ensure long term sustainable outcomes.

A smart water meter is a device that automatically records water use, has the ability to electronically report water usage information at regular intervals and provides instant access to data that can show peak usage and other information. The transmitted data can assist your household with the management of water consumption and promote the early detection of water leaks or unusual usage amounts. There is no direct cost to you associated with the installation of the meter at properties, as the meter replacement program is being funded through Council’s Capital Works Program.

The following Questions and Answers have been developed to help you gain a greater understanding of the changes, how they may affect your household and the long-term benefits - Water Meter Replacement - Questions and Answers

As part of this program, vacuuming of water meter housings/boxes is being completed in preparation for the installation of new smart water meter technology. Efforts will be made to notify residents who are home at the time of work and staff and contractors will be knocking on the door at each property to make themselves known, prior to commencement. It is expected that this project will be completed by 30 June 2022, subject to weather conditions and external delays.

Should you require any further information, do not hesitate to chat with our friendly field staff, or you can contact the Integrated Water Services Team on 0418 162 794.

What it means for you.

What are Smart Water Meters?

Smart water meters use wireless technology to record water usage data which will be collected more frequently and more accurately without having to physically read the meter. The collection of data on a near real-time basis improves the ability to identify any unusual activity such as water loss or reduction in water supply.

How do they work?

Integrated purpose built smart water meters have mechanical or electronic flow measuring, volume recording and communication capabilities all in one device. They typically use magnetic or ultrasonic solid state flow sensing. This provides additional benefits such as higher accuracy and measurement at very low flow. Ultrasonic meters are also less susceptible to blockages causing malfunctioning as there are no moving parts or restrictions within the meter.

Why are we changing meters?

Recognising that water is one of our most valuable resources, this project will make a significant contribution to our water security by reducing water loss caused by leaks and encouraging community awareness around water usage at your properties. It will also assist us in managing our water supplies to meet growing demands now and into the future.

The remote read capabilities of smart meters will also offer a faster and more efficient reading

method than conventional meters and as such, allows for more regular read periods. This means the need for staff to check meters at regular intervals will be removed as they can be read remotely, releasing more time for staff to pro-actively work on the system and improve response times to maintenance issues.

What are the benefits to me?

Your current water meter is read manually by a staff member at set intervals, providing us with a one-off read of how much water has been used for billing purposes. Once the system is operational, the smart water meter provides Council with daily data. This will:

  • assist with the early detection of leaks;
  • allow Council to develop strategies to reduce water usage; and
  • enable us to respond more effectively to usage enquiries.

Will the new meters affect my bill?

Smart water meters have a high level of accuracy when recording usage. All the new smart meters are tested for accuracy prior to installation, and during the testing phase, both manual and wireless reads will be undertaken to ensure consistency. However, some customers may experience an increase in the recording of their overall water usage by comparison to the reads taken from the current meters. This may occur if the old meter had started to read slow due to age.

Water meters have the potential to read ‘slow’ or even stop reading as the meter deteriorates over time, resulting in a lower consumption being recorded. This new technology will enable Council to identify these meters more quickly and some customers who have not been charged for all their water usage previously, may now receive the correct (and higher) consumption charges moving forward.

Councils compare the amount of water billed with the amount of water produced at each water treatment plant. While there are always losses due to leaks in the network, mains flushing and other management practices, there is also a percentage of water that passes through customer meters that is not billed, where the meter has failed to register all the water that passes through. Glen Innes has a high level of unbilled water in NSW compared to other Councils, and this is one of the reasons why the automated system is being installed.

Have these meters been used elsewhere?

Smart meters have been implemented all over Australia over the last 20 years and are used by many councils and water authorities. Our water meter replacement project will be delivered by Taggle Systems Pty Limited, who have significant experience in implementing smart meters across Australia.

Feedback suggests customers from other areas have welcomed the customer portal and the ability to detect leaks beyond the meter at a much earlier stage, saving the customers money.

What should I expect during installation?

The installation will commence from 4 May 2022. You don’t need to be at home for installation but you must ensure there is safe and clear access to water meters at all times. There will be minimal impact to your water supply during installation.