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Overview

Summary

A smart water meter is a digital device that measures, in real time, the amount of water in use, then via a low frequency radio transmitter securely sends data to Council for processing.

Council expects the smart water program will reduce water loss, improve accuracy of water rates billing and increase participation in water saving practices with an ability to provide real-time water usage data to the community.

Around 4,700 smart water meters will be installed throughout the shire.

Existing residential and commercial mechanical water meters will be either replaced with a new electronic meter if aged or retro-fitted with a low power device. The new installations will link remotely to a private network which will send near real time water usage information securely to a data management system, enabling water reticulation monitoring, leak detection and accurate billing.

Consumers will be able to access their information through a website or phone application.

Cost of Project – Stage 1

$800,000

The project is funded under  the Queensland Government’s $200 million COVID Works for Queensland (W4Q) program.

Project Updates

June, 2022

The Smart Water Meter customer portal is now available to the residence with Smart Water Meters implemented. You can sign up for the customer portal MiWater to track your water consumption and set up automatic alerts on water usage.

Sign up or log-in to MiWater HERE

April, 2022

Contractors have completed the installation of smart water meters in Port Douglas.

MARCH, 2022

Contractors will soon be commencing Stage 1 smart water meter installations in Port Douglas.

Meter installation company Data Right will be installing the devices and all their staff will carry Data Right identification with them when working to confirm they are authorised to do the work on behalf of Council.

Installation is scheduled to start Monday 28 March 2022 and will be completed by Friday 15 April.

Installers will be working weekdays and weekends, starting work at 7am and concluding at 6pm.

Please read the full public notice here.

FEBRUARY, 2022

  • All the eight receiver antennae required for the smart meter rollout have been installed at strategic sites on Council owned land.
  • Installation will commence in March and is expected to be completed within three weeks.

AUGUST, 2021

Council will be reviewing the condition of existing water meters in coming weeks as it prepares for the planned Smart Water Meter Program. Councillors awarded a $670,000 contract to Taggle Systems Pty Ltd to complete stage one of the program, which includes rolling out the hardware to about half of water meters and receivers at properties in Douglas Shire. Read the full media release here.

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What is a smart water meter?

Smart water meters are water meters fitted with radio transmitters that send meter readings to the water service provider every hour. Readings from individual meters can be used to identify possible water leaks on properties which might otherwise go unnoticed for months or even years. As such, they can help residents save money on wasted water and help communities make better use of their scarce water resources.

Remote meter reading also helps the water service provider identify possible network leaks through damaged pipes and joints. Such water losses can be significant and cost significant amounts of money in terms of both the actual water loss and any damage the lost water might cause to pipes, roads and buildings.

How do smart water meters work?

The smart water meter device detects the water meter dial rotating and transmits the current water meter reading as a small radio signal. The information is then stored in a secure database managed by Council.

How strong is the radio signal?

The radio signal transmitted by the smart meter is very small – it is about 30 times weaker than the signal transmitted by your mobile phone.

How does the device get power?

The smart meter device is powered by a lithium battery. All the power used by the device comes from the battery. The battery will last 10 to 13 years.  When the battery goes flat, the system will raise an alert for Council to act upon.

What are the benefits for residents?

Your current water meter is read manually by a staff member at set intervals, providing Council 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 and the customer with daily data. This will:

  • assist with the early detection of leaks
  • enable you to check your water usage daily
  • allow you to develop strategies to reduce water usage
  • enable Council to respond more effectively to usage enquiries.

What will my water data be used for?

Initially your water meter data will be used by Council to identify any hidden leaks on your property, and if this occurs, you will be notified. On average, 10% of homes and businesses have concealed leaks they are not aware of despite best efforts to save water.

Council will also be using the data collected from the meters in the service area to determine if water is being lost within the network. This will help water staff pinpoint leaks within the network and potentially identify mains breaks before they escalate and cause customer disruptions.

The data will also help staff identify peak and off-peak water use times and assist in managing pumping and infrastructure to reduce costs when less water is required. The analysis of this data can help Council identify inefficiencies in the water network and inform decision making for upgrades to the water infrastructure.

What smart meter will I be receiving?

There are three different styles of meters.  Depending on the age of your existing meter it may need to be fully replaced or retrofitted with a clip-on device. Larger meters will require a separate retro fit device.

The four models are:

  1. Honeywell V200HT Integrated Smart Meter – If the existing customer meter requires full replacement due to age or fault.
  2. MRC clip on device – These attach to existing meters which are working fine and are not due for replacement in the coming years.
  3. ADC-1 clip on device – used for different sized meters for larger properties, businesses or council buildings.
  4. HP-1 High Power device – these high-power devices, which are still very low power just higher in comparison, may be used if a signal is difficult to receive, for example, from under a metal lid or in rural areas far away from a receiver.

What will my water data be used for?

Initially your water meter data will be used by Council to identify any hidden leaks on your property, and if this occurs, you will be notified. On average, 10% of homes and businesses have concealed leaks they are not aware of despite best efforts to save water.

Council will also be using the data collected from the meters in the service area to determine if water is being lost within the network. This will help water staff pinpoint leaks within the network and potentially identify mains breaks before they escalate and cause customer disruptions.

The data will also help staff identify peak and off-peak water use times and assist in managing pumping and infrastructure to reduce costs when less water is required. The analysis of this data can help Council identify inefficiencies in the water network and inform decision making for upgrades to the water infrastructure.

Who is responsible for the maintenance of the device?

If you notice that your meter is damaged or in need of maintenance, please contact Douglas Shire Council Frontline Services on 07 4099 9444 or 1800 026 318.

Does it cost me any extra money?

Council’s Smart Water Meter Program is part-funded by Queensland Government’s 2021-24 Works for Queensland Program and for Stage 1 there will be no cost passed on to rate payers. If your water bills increase, it is most probable that your old meter was under reading due to old age, meaning you weren’t getting charged for all of your water use. As meters age, they lose their accuracy, and are replaced once they reach their end of serviceable life. All aged meters will be replaced as part of this funded Program stage.

Funding for the remainder of the works program will be included in Council’s 2022-23 capital works budget.

How can I monitor my data?

Following completion of the installation, customers will be provided with instructions on how to register for the customer portal/app to access and monitor their own water usage. The customer portal is anticipated to be made live in August or September 2022.

How will I be notified if I have a leak at my property?

Initially Council will contact you directly via a letter if a leak has been identified at your property. As the project progresses, this feature will become available to you directly, along with the ability to view and monitor your daily usage information via the customer portal.

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. Council’s water meter replacement project will be delivered by Taggle Systems Pty Limited, who have significant experience in implementing smart meters across Australia. Feedback suggests that customers from other areas have welcomed the customer portal and the ability to detect leaks beyond the meter at a much earlier stage, saving them money.

What do I do if my water meter or smart meter device is damaged?

If you notice that your meter is damaged or in need of maintenance, please contact Douglas Shire Council Frontline Services 07 4099 9444 or 1800 026 318.

Enquiries

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Gaye Scott on 07 4099 9414 or email gaye.scott@douglas.qld.gov.au.

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