Utilities still getting smarter about water, albeit more slowly

The installed base of smart water meters will almost triple between now and 2017, with Pike Research predicting the installed base will reach 29.9 by that time.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor

Electricity consumption isn't the only thing that so-called smart meters are being asked to monitor. New data from Pike Research suggest that water utilities increasingly are installing infrastructure with two-way communications to get a better handle on what's actually flowing to the tap -- and what is being wasted.

The Pike Research "Smart Water Meters" report suggests that as communities address aging water pipes and sewer lines, many of the associated water utilities are likewise upgrading the meters keeping tab on the precious resource running through those pipes.

By 2017, Pike Research predicts that approximately 29.9 smart water meters will be in place, compared with approximately 10.3 million at the end of 2011. That's actually a bit less than Pike Research suggested back in mid-2010, when it predicted that smart water meter deployments would reach 31.8 million units by 2016. The new forecast calls for 25.2 million installations by the end of that year.

The drivers for the investments in smart water meters include water conservation concerns, regulatory requirements and the need to account for "non revenue" water that is somehow being wasted through leaks.

The need to bill consumers more specifically for actual consumption makes business senses by it also is a hurdle to consumer acceptance. There is likely to be the same pushback from consumers about cost and privacy concerns for water as there has been in the electricity world.

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