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Innovation

Here come the smart water meters: 31 million by 2016

Smart water meters are set to proliferate as the world struggles with water shortages and efficient delivery, according to Pike Research. But challenges remain.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Smart water meters are set to proliferate as the world struggles with water shortages and efficient delivery, according to Pike Research.

According to Pike Research, the global installed base of smart and smart-enabled water meters will surge to 31.8 million by 2016, up from 5.2 million in 2009. Smart water meters will ultimately account for 31 percent of all new water meter shipments.

Why the focus on smart meters? Pike Research notes a few moving parts:

  • Water shortages will affect half the world's population by 2030.
  • In the U.S., 36 states will see water shortages by 2013.
  • Utilities will also be looking to improve efficiency and cut down so-called non-revenue water---the difference between pumped, treated and supplied water and what actually gets to the end customer.
  • Emerging markets also need to become more efficient half of treated water falls into the non-revenue category due to leaks, theft and poor measurement.

Also: Water, water...how many drops do YOU waste?

While these smart water meters are expected to swell, there are hurdles. For starters, customers aren't used to frequent water metering and billing. And then networking intelligence needs to be installed in the water systems---much like the investment going on in smart electric grids. And finally, the water industry has 52,000 suppliers in the U.S. In other words, there's a herding cats issue.

More reading on the subject:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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