Smart utility solutions provider Sensus will showcase products designed to assist with accurate water metering and remote data collection – or automated meter reading/advanced metering infrastruc- ture (AMR/AMI) – at this year’s African Utility Week, which will enable municipalities to reduce the percentage of unbilled purified water.
Sensus systems executive Gerardt Viljoen explains that, as a water-scarce country, the drought of last year put significant pressure on South Africa’s water resources. “Many municipa- lities are struggling to maintain the supply of water and, in some areas, severe water restrictions have been implemented.”
Water problems are further aggravated by a nonrevenue water figure of about 38%. This effectively means that 38% of all purified water in the country does not get billed, as a result of inaccurate data collection and reading.
“Sensus South Africa agrees that this figure could be drastically reduced if we knew exactly what was taking place in reticulation networks,” he says.
To this end, Sensus offers a range of products to manage and monitor critical resources, such as water, as well as performs high-end data collection using AMR/AMI systems. Although the company’s main clients are local municipalities, it also services the private sector and is especially well suited to assist businesses in enhancing their water management systems and products.
The company has developed three key offerings to improve the accuracy of AMR/AMI, which, in turn, ensures that municipalities and companies improve their data analyses and network management, as well as natural and human resource management.
SensusRF is the first walk-by/drive-by and fixed radio network in South Africa that the company has developed to allow for more efficient meter reading. The system enables the user to drive by the meter at 50 km/h and take a reading without having to stop. With the addition of a fixed radio network, the user can remotely read all the relevant meters through a SensusRF communication network and even perform network analyses using the Sensus meter data management system.
The IPERL is an electromagnetic smart domestic meter, that is currently the most advanced and reliable domestic meter on the market, Viljoen says. The meter is designed to be integrated with all the techno- logy needed for AMR/AMI and additionally has a built-in data logger and leak-detection alarm, besides other alarm functions.
The Sensus FlexNet system is a smart metering system that enables utilities to automate the network monitoring of large areas and better manage their reticulation networks.
Viljoen says that the FlexNet has proven itself in Britain, where Sensus is involved in “currently the largest programme of its kind in the world”. Sensus is partnering with several other companies to convert the country’s water, gas and electricity to FlexNet. FlexNet will be deployed to about 50% of the country and connect more than 16-million electricity, gas, and water meters to the system.
“South Africa needs to prioritise where to apply its resources and focus. Unless we start investing in reliable technology, we will not be able to manage current and future water supply situations adequately,” Viljoen concludes.