By: Vivek Shukla, Co-Founder & CEO, Smarterhomes Technologies
All of us know that water is an absolute necessity and there is an impending water crisis looming over our heads. However, most of us do not realize that unlike electricity there are no alternative sources of water. In the history of humanity’s evolution, no new water source was ever found. The problem of water scarcity is a growing one. Water is essential to ensure high quality of life.
Increase in population leads to an inevitable increase in the demand for safe and clean water. According to a survey by UN State of the World Population report in 2007, by 2030, 40.76% of country’s population is expected to reside in urban areas. Cities are growing vertically to accommodate the new population by building new high rise apartments. There is a glaring gap between demand and supply of water. What choices do we have now to ensure water access to all? Since we can’t create new water, one obvious choice is to ‘save’.
The question is how an apartment dweller can save when they do not know about their consumption? An average Indian household (a family of four – middle-income group) consumes roughly 1,000 litres per day. The WHO prescribed water use is 150 litres per person per day which translates to 600 litres per day. Therefore, it is safe to assume that most families waste roughly 35-40% of water in their homes. This 35% water can be saved if the consumers are conscious about their usage and start paying for what they consume.
We can only control what we can measure; therefore, measurement is the first step towards saving and conserving water. Smart water meters play a crucial role in intelligently measuring, monitoring and controlling water usage. Unlike a regular water meter, a smart water meter can measure consumption at a metering point and communicate to the central data servers besides also monitoring water infrastructure, all in real time.
Smart water meters like WaterOn not only delivers accurate metring and monitoring but also prevent the damage caused by water leakage with a remotely operable valve. The benefits of smart water metering include:
• Fair billing: With the ever increasing urban population, there has been a huge rise in demand for the number of apartments and residential complexes in cities across the world. Most housing complexes do not meter the water consumption of residents individually. Instead, the residents are charged a fixed flat rate. Even though the water consumption is different for each household, the bill is calculated by dividing the number of families by the total amount. The individual consumptions are never equal which results in most residents paying for others’ consumption as well. This makes people insensitive towards water wastage in their homes. Smart Water metering enables housing societies to measure and charge individuals on actual consumption.
• Automatic Leakage detection: A leaky flush or a tap can waste a significant amount of water. In the event of a leakage, a smart water meter can alert the user and prevent catastrophic damage by remotely shutting off water supply.
• All round cost reduction: Research has proven that communities with smart meters save more than 35% water. With reduction in water usage, the energy costs are reduced due to reduced need to pump water to overhead storage and distribution tanks.
When people are aware of the amount of water they consume and have to pay for what they use, there is an immediate behavioural change to bring down the consumption. If all high rise buildings that currently do not have any kind of metering adopt smart water metering solution, it can result in tremendous savings. The world will be a better place with more availability of water for future generations.
India has over 15 mn apartment units in 55 cities currently. All over the world, more than 50 mn apartment units are having an apparent need for a water metering solution. We need a greater resolve to save water. Let’s begin by asking ourselves and others if we are aware about how much water we waste every day. Adopt smart water meters today for a better tomorrow!