Chennai Metrowater has accelerated the process to fit digital water meters with automated meter reading (AMR) in commercial buildings to ensure the judicious use of water among consumers in the city.
Of the 12,708 commercial and water-intensive consumers, including hotels, companies and educational institutions, AMR meters have been fitted in 5,300 buildings in the city. Those who use nearly 5,000 kilolitres of water, every month, fall in the category of water-intensive users.
As of now, meter reading is done using hand-held devices that work with radio frequency identification technology.
Metrowater officials said that software for automated reading is being developed to enable officers to read and monitor water meters and raise bills from their area and head offices. The software that will enable transmission of data to the Metrowater server is expected to be ready in a few weeks.
“The meters are being sourced from Hitron, a company in France. More buildings in the category will be identified in the second phase and eventually use of such meters will be expanded to domestic consumers as well,” said an official.
The project is being taken up at a cost of ₹9.5 crore, with funding under the Smart City Mission. This is to encourage consumers to pay according to their use and track water consumption. The water agency has already started billing based on volumetric consumption. Soon, engineers will not have to visit the field to raise bills or read meters, officials said. A recent study by a consultant had suggested that nearly 6.14 lakh new water meters could be fitted in core city and added areas. “We plan to fit AMR meters in the identified buildings by June,” said an official.
Moreover, the water agency has sought funds of ₹5 crore to fit smartcard-based water dispensers in some of the filling posts that have been left out during the first phase of the Smart City project.
Nearly 191 filling posts in the 41 distribution stations have been fitted with such units, wherein a specific volume of water will flow once a lorry driver swipes his smartcard.
This is set to bring down leaks and monitor pilferage, the official added.