Avoiding Day Zero: Water Submetering Using MeterConnex

Drought in British Columbia: The role of water metering in conservation

Cape Town is gaining a lot of attention, from local to international news: Facing one of the worst droughts the city has seen in over 100 years, Cape Town’s reservoir of usable water is at an all-time low of roughly 30% capacity (and it’s dropping fast).

Cape Town is facing a serious problem: It’s running out of usable water

In a bid to ration the remaining water supply, the Executive Mayor has asked local residents and tourists to limit their water usage to no more than 87 litres per day. Considering that the average shower uses 65 litres of water, a water ration of 87 litres a day is quite significant, not to mention the difficulty in measuring and allocating costs for water consumption.

Water metering with MeterConnex
Source: AP Photo/Halden Krog

If there has ever been a right time to utilize metering, it’s now.  Most people see a 15-20% reduction in consumption after installing a submeter.  They can also benefit from identifying any unforeseen problems that may be occurring. A perfect example of this is a leaky pipe or toilet valve: you could take many measures to change your usage habits, but if there’s a large water leak somewhere after your main meter to your house, you’re going to be footing the bill.

Fortunately, our friends at Apex Innovation in South Africa have been able to aid in water conservation efforts through the installation of water meters which can track every litre of consumption as often as every 30 minutes on a per-household basis. With a simple web app to track water consumption, consumers are able to see exactly where they stand vs their allotted 87L/day per person usage limit.

                “Previously, multi-residential housing complexes and apartment blocks were metered on a single bulk water meter, leading to zero accountability with high usage and unreported leaks. As consumers begin to realize the importance of rationing water, we are providing them with essential digital tools to control their consumption behavior in a simple to use way.

We are seeing a huge uptake within both commercial and residential customers that are looking to regulate their water use. We’ve been able to install 2000 water meters since November 2017, and expect the average monthly roll-out to be in excess of 2000.”

Brynn Williams, President of Apex Innovation

Apex Innovation is utilizing MeterConnex, QMC’s Internet of Things online metering platform, to accurately collect water meter data for analysis and utility cost allocation. MeterConnex communicates with Apex’s meters over the Sigfox network, a first of its kind implementation in South Africa.  Using Sigfox, a long range, Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN), allows MeterConnex to receive data from any metering device, allowing for a simple worry-free connection to every household.

QMC and Apex Innovation are in a unique position of being able to rapidly deploy metering solutions to an area which desperately needs to reduce consumption. Though the situation in Cape Town may seem dire, we are positive that metering will play a significant part in changing consumption habits and ensuring accountability and responsible use of this scarce resource.

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