Dunedin City Council (DCC) has implemented a new, smart water metering solution for non-residential premises that will help to lay the foundation for Dunedin’s smart-city future and deliver to the objectives of Three Waters policy in making Dunedin a sustainable and resilient city.
The new digital-led solution aims to improve the efficiency of the city water network by managing and monitoring water usage more effectively, saving on meter reading costs and reducing billing queries as well as inaccuracies in the billing data for commercial residents.
The deployment of the new system has been made possible by Spark New Zealand’s rollout of a new kind of IoT network, called NB-IoT. Field smart technology company, AD Riley, are rolling out water meters connected on the Spark NB-IoT network and providing usage information to Dunedin City Council.
Dunedin City Council’s Group Manager Three Waters, David Ward, says, “While the meters should also save money on the city’s rate payer bill, which can be funneled into other programmes of work, this rollout is ultimately about achieving the environmental benefits, water savings, and the vision of Dunedin being a one of the world’s great small cities.
“The DCC water system includes 21,000 hectares of water catchment, six operational water treatment plants, 57 storage reservoirs, 35 pumping stations and 1450km of pipes.
“Our Three Waters team previously managed water demand for the city by volumetrically charging non-domestic customers across 4,200 water meters. The processes, technology and systems were dated, with over 60% of the water meter network nearing end of life and registering less flow which would result in non-streamlined processes between the meter reader, system input, and invoicing.
“This new system which is connected to the Spark NB-IoT network flips us into a world where instead of resources being chewed up by routine inaccuracies, we can now focus on efficiency gains.
“With the new smart metering solution, we now have accurate real-time data across all non-residential properties which provides a detailed overview of their water use by the minute. This allows us to facilitate metering changes more swiftly and bill more accurately. Faults and leaks are more easily
identified and fixed, leading to cost and water savings across the board, and property owners are empowered to manage their water consumption via a service portal solution that visually displays their water usage.”
The University of Otago and Port Otago are using the new smart meters. The university has 200 water meters, the highest number of meters in Dunedin, and Port Otago is the largest user of water in Dunedin and has six meters. One of the Port meters has been collecting data since April 2021 and has already flagged three leaks.
Tony Agar, Spark IoT Lead, says the new Dunedin City Council smart water metering solution will create a good base for Dunedin’s smart city teams to build from.
“Dunedin is a fantastic city, with a strong network of accessible and connected communities and DCC have seen the opportunity to significantly improve efficiency and sustainability by transitioning to a smart water meter network.
“We’re bringing together IoT networks, and in partnership with AD Riley, smart water metering technology to ensure more of our precious resource – water, is being used efficiently. It also allows the council to create a more sustainable operation, to live up to their sustainability strategy and realise
cost savings for their commercial property ratepayers.
“Our new NB-IoT network was the perfect connectivity fit for Dunedin City Council because it provides wide reliable coverage and is suited to non-powered metering systems that send small amounts of data. On top of this, we’ve already activated NB-IoT connectivity across nearly 60% of Spark’s cell sites,
providing over 80% population coverage – which gives Dunedin City Council extensive coverage in the Southland area.
“Across our new NB-IoT network, DCC will be able to better monitor their water use efficiency, optimise billing accuracy, promote more efficient consumption and deliver maximum value to ratepayers.”