By Yigal Rosenthal

Ariel water and sewage utility was established at the end of 2003 as a pilot for small communities of less than 20,000 people. One of the first decisions made was that each project needs to be profitable to provide a financial strength to the corporation, which by its nature might be financially unstable due to its small size.

Through the course of 2002 the water loss in Ariel was at a level of 26%. Then the utility introduced several actions to reduce the water loss. These actions reduced the water loss to a level of 18.6% by the end of 2003.

A new target was defined: to further reduce the water loss to a single digit number. A fixed automated metering reading (AMR) system was selected as the main tool to achieve this target.

This paper shows the method developed to identify, locate and eliminate Ariel’s water loss. The project was launched in 2005. The current level of losses is less than 5%.

Ariel’s elevation varies from 475 m to 705 m above sea level. There are five pressure areas connected by gate valves and pressure reducers. Water is pumped to the reservoir located in the highest point of 705 m, and from there by gravity to the town.

Ariel’s population is 20,000 and 8,000 students. The water system comprises 60 km of mains, three reservoirs, two pumping stations and a pressure increase station. Ariel’s water pressure varies between 2-6 ATM. There are 6,000 customer meters ranging from ¾” to 12”.

The fixed Dialog 3G system, provided by Arad Technologies, was selected. Meters transmit data to repeaters and switches, and from there to the data management area. The management software analyses the information by advanced mathematical and statistical analysis tools. Data and reports are introduced via the internet.

The town water system was divided into district management areas (DMAs). The criteria for the establishment of the DMAs were internal loops of supply, a main feeding point and a backup supply point (normally closed). In each DMA five measurement groups were defined: Area4Sub-area 4 Neighbourhood 4 Apartment building Apartment Each group contains a master meter and water submeters. All meter readout is transmitted twice a day at set hours. Data analysis gives the total group water waste.

RCR S/W outputs are transmitted twice daily and include: 

  • Water consumption data per group 
  • Meter condition 
  • Water loss per group 
  • Warnings 
    • Leak or burst in the system 
    • Stuck meters 
    • Damaged meters 
    • Meter removal attempts 
    • Back flow 
    • Irregularity in water readout/deviation from normal reading.

The system flexibility allows a master water meter to be defined for any user group such as a house, building or any defined area. In addition the system can identify losses by calculating a water balance in each area.

Lately due to drought conditions, the system is being used to control and supervise the town landscaping and gardening areas. The system reports in real time on locations that experience over or under irrigation. This information is used to optimise the irrigation volume. This feature contributes greatly to the national water saving effort and saves both water and funds of the town management.

The minimum time sampling for water loss calculations is 15 days. The calculations indicate areas with high leakage.

A zone checkup includes a physical check for fraud and improper connections, damaged meters etc. Pipe bursts are located using acoustic leak detection devices.

Step tests for enhancing the loss control were applied by physically separating the area as an additional meter is added. Then both meters are sampled in parallel and once again an additional meter is added to the area with the bigger water loss. This process is repeated until the area is reduced to a section of 250 m.

The AMR system and its flexibility to manage consumption groups provides an improved method to search for leaks and bursts. The response time is shorter and the identification time is shortened as the search can be narrowed to a very small area. In turn, the water loss can be dramatically reduced.

Monitoring the system is the key factor for the success of the programme. Added value is the improvement in municipal service to the resident. The leak is known about before the end user is aware of it, and customers can be notified of potential problems immediately, rather than previously up to seven months later.

Further the water losses are lower and the savings are bigger, providing a win-win solution.

This is a case study made in one of the cities in Israel that have implemented the Dialog 3GTM system in a fixed area network. This is the leading product of Arad Metering Technologies from Israel, which is an acknowledged leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of wireless AMR systems worldwide. The company’s award-winning, web-based Dialog 3GTM system has set the industry gold standard for wireless, AMR data networks.

Arad offers fully implemented, comprehensive remote meter reading solutions for walk-by, drive-by, and fixed base systems that require no physical access or visual inspection of meters. The system is so responsive that utility clients can be alerted to problems such as water loss or pipe breakage the moment they occur.

Arad’s scope of services include hardware, applications, installation, high level technical support, and system compatibility with state-of-the-art electronic technologies, along with upgrade and custom design capabilities.

The fixed base system is a good example of forward thinking. This permanently installed network of antennas, towers, collectors, repeaters, etc. automatically collects meter data and transmits it to a centralised computer. The powerful, narrow band transmitter signals are picked up by a wide area network using only a few data collectors, thus reducing and even eliminating the need for human meter readers, hand-held devices or drive-by vehicles.

The fixed base system provides a fast, accurate and reliable solution for diverse market segments: 

  • Water meters that are either inside-set or pit-set 
  • Electric meters located on the side of homes or apartment buildings 
  • Gas meters located on the side of homes or apartment buildings.

By sharing a common fixed base network all three sectors, water, electricity and gas, can significantly reduce operating costs, allow for more frequent and more accurate measurement, and increase actual meter life for upwards of 15 years or more.

All Arad Technologies products meet worldwide standards of quality and performance including ISO, AWWA, MOC, FCC, Inmetro and FCRI standards. The company’s quality system is certified ISO 9001:2000 and its products hold the CE mark. Every system is individually tested and inspected to ensure it meets the highest quality requirements.

Founded in 2000, Arad Technologies is a subsidiary of the Arad Group, a world leader in the manufacture of water meters. Arad has more than 3 million installations around the world and recently was awarded two major projects: the supply of 150,000 meters in Mumbai with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), and 650,000 meters for Southern Water Company in the UK.