Chennai Metrowater brings back meters, in digital avatar
Agency makes a start with water-intensive commercial buildings; residential structures to get them next
Chennai Metrowater is bringing back water metering. After a failed attempt a decade ago, Metrowater, instead of installing manual meters, is going digital now.
By early next year, commercial establishments, that are water-intensive, would have digital meters in place. Later, the meters would be fixed in existing residential buildings as well.
In a bid to ensure judicious use of drinking water, Metrowater has started installing digital meters in Adyar zone under the Smart City Mission.
Of the 12,708 water-intensive consumers, including hotels, IT companies and educational institutions, targeted for the ₹9.5-crore project, about 300 meters have been fixed so far. The establishments that use nearly 5,000 kilolitres per month fall under the category of water-intensive consumers.
It may be recalled that the water agency had attempted metering system in the city a decade ago. But, it could not be implemented due to glitches, including faulty meters and lukewarm response from residents.
This time, radio frequency-based AMR devices are being fitted in the chambers to enable transmission of data to the Metrowater server. Bills would be generated based on the water consumed by the establishments, said Metrowater officials.
The meters were procured from Hitron, a French company, and sample meters were tested at Fluid Control Research Institute, Palakkad, before installation. About 400 more meters would be installed in the next few weeks. “We are expecting another consignment of meters in a fortnight. These would provide an accurate reading compared to the manual ones that had complaints of frequent faults due to fluctuations in water supply,” said an official.
The manual meters installed in the buildings that have recently availed connections would also be changed to digital meters. All commercial establishments would be covered under the metering system by January next year.
To address issues of unaccounted water and wastage, Metrowater has also started installing smart card-based water dispensers in the 191 filling points located in 41 water filling stations across the city under the Smart City Mission.
At present, about 20 such control units have been installed in Injambakkam, Kilpauk water works and southern headworks (Valluvar Kottam).
The Metrowater is distributing 76 million litres of water daily through 1,180 lorries of various capacity. About 11,700 trips are operated daily.
In the new system, specific volume of water would be dispensed once the driver swipes the smart card. Valves would be automatically turned off after the required volume is dispensed. Data on the number of trips and volume of water distributed would be monitored through an online system and pilferage prevented, officials said.