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Water meters

About water meters

Water meters provide information on how much water we’re using in our households, businesses and organisations and help inform decisions about water management.

There are two main types of water meters. Traditional analogue water meters are mechanical devices that record water at the point of use. They need to be read manually.

Smart meters record water use in the same way but are connected to wireless communication devices providing current water use data. They can be read remotely via apps and software.

Using data from smart meters is one of the most effective ways to better manage water consumption and detect leaks.

Exploring the use of smart meters

Aside from a small number of properties, the majority of residential properties in the metropolitan Wellington region are unmetered.  

Wellington Water is owned and funded by the councils in the Wellington region. Our councils own the water infrastructure in the region and set user charges and rates. They then task us to deliver water services to their communities.

The decision to install residential meters is also one that sits with our councils. 

On behalf of Greater Wellington Regional Council, we’re undertaking a technical feasibility study for smart metering in the Wellington metropolitan area (Wellington, Hutt, Upper Hutt and Porirua).

This will help us understand more about the potential benefits and how to implement smart metering if councils decide to install smart meters in their area.

Importantly, this study is looking at how smart meters could inform water management, but not charging for water.

We’ve also been piloting smart meters in Greytown.

You can see more information at the links below:

Context and information about smart meters

 

Economic case for smart meters  - In November 2020, Wellington Water provided the Water Committee with an economic case, which evaluated a range of options to reduce water demand, support customer engagement, reduce environmental impacts, and improve network management. 

 

Information from places using smart meters

 

Greytown Smart Meter Trial - A year-long trial starting in March 2021 was carried out to better understand the opportunities, challenges, and overall level of feasibility of using smart water meters and provide learnings for planning and possible rollouts.

How could smart meters help me find leaks?

Smart meters are the most effective way to detect any leaks as they allow you to track your consumption in real-time. If it’s higher than expected, especially at night, that indicates a possible leak or even burst pipe.

FAQs

Smart meters are the most effective way to detect any leaks as they allow you to track your consumption in real-time. If it’s higher than expected, especially at night, that indicates a possible leak or even burst pipe.

If you install a smart meter will I have to pay for water?

The supply and delivery of water to your property is currently paid for through your rates bill. Wellington Water is currently investigating smart metering as a way of collecting information . Changing the way water is paid for would be a separate discussion.

What kind of data does a smart meter record? Would it contain personal data?

No personal data would be transmitted from the smart meters. Data transmitted would include only the meter serial number, time stamp and meter reading (i.e., total amount of water used). No personal information, such as names or property addresses, would be included in the transmission. Any data that Wellington Water received from a smart water meter or logger would be treated in accordance with our privacy policy and New Zealand data security requirements.

Would I get access to the data from a smart water meter on my property?

You would be able to see water readings on the face of the smart meter, so you could take regular readings for yourself. In addition, as part of the study, Wellington Water will be looking into providing a web portal or app where customers could look at the data from their meters to see how much water they were using.

How is data transmitted from a smart meter? Is it safe?

Smart-meter data is transmitted as an encrypted radio signal. The energy emitted from modern smart water meters is just a tiny fraction of the energy from a normal mobile phone or a digital electricity meter. Smart water meters have been in place in many locations around the world for some years now, and there are no known health issues associated with their use. And smart electricity meters, which use the same kind of technology, have been attached to Kiwi homes for several years now without issue.

Where would a meter be located?

In most cases water meters would be installed at the boundary of the property, inside a plastic chamber and under the ground. This would avoid any obstructions in the footpath, berm or driveway. Putting the meter at the boundary would mean Wellington Water would not have to come into the property to complete the installation or to perform very occasional maintenance or replacement.

Where several properties are serviced by a single connection from the main, such as small sub-divisions or properties held under a cross lease, meters might need to be situated between the property boundary and the dwelling. Generally the meter would be in or adjacent to the driveway, keeping installation and maintenance impacts to a minimum.

Who would own and maintain the meter?

As the asset owner, Wellington Water would be responsible for the smart meter. Customers still would be responsible for all the other pipes and fittings on their property that connect to the water network.

Would Wellington Water be able to tell if customers have a leak on their property?

Data from the smart meters would enable Wellington Water to alert customers to possible leaks. It would still the property owner’s responsibility to repair any leaks.

Would householders be charged directly for the installation of smart meters?

No. 

Would this smart meter be the same as the electricity meters?

Although both meters measure how much customers use, a smart water meter is different from smart electricity meters. Smart water meters would not be installed inside a building, but customers would still be able to read their real-time water usage on the meter and/or via an app. A smart water meter can’t control or reduce how much water comes through the meter.