The city of Columbia in South Carolina plans to implement an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project to improve the operations of its water division.According to a local publication, the city will spend $49 million in replacing some 140,000 analogue water meters with AMI meters.
The project is anticipated to start in 2018 through to the end of 2020 with up to 6,000 installations per month.
Officials at Columbia city are confident smart water meters will help reduce the city's operational and non-revenue costs associated with water leaks and manual water reading.
The project is expected to help the city’s water division optimise its revenue collection through accuracy in water billing.
With regard to maintenance of the water distribution system, the project will help Columbia city to improve the lifespan of its distribution infrastructure through the provision of real-time data on the performance of grid assets.
In addition, the smart water meters will enable consumers to improve their water efficiency through real-time management of their water consumption using mobile devices.
The development is part of efforts by Columbia city to modernise its water network and improve its customer services.
Currently, the city is in the process of shortlisting AMI technology providers and installers. [Copperas Cove in Texas completes installation of smart water meters].
The city highlighted that it plans to use the communications infrastructure of the AMI meters for remote control of smart streetlights and smart parking in future.
Penetration of AMI meters
The news follows the release of a report by ABI Research which forecasts smart water meter connections to rise while smart electricity meters installations slow in the next five years.
According to the report, North America accounted for the largest number of smart water meter installations in 2016, however, Europe is expected to marginally surpass North America's connection growth and hold the largest ‘install base’ by 2018.
"As more people migrate from rural areas to urban cities, increasing water security concerns will fuel smart water meter growth. Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) network technologies both cellular and non-cellular connectivity solutions will also further enable water utilities to incorporate smart metering into their organisational workflows.
Across all metering markets, smart meter rollouts are predominantly driven by regulatory mandates based on government policy," says an ABI release.
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