Water crisis: Dubbo Regional Council plans to roll-out smart water meters

JOB DONE: Dubbo Regional Council staff install a smart water meter at a council facility. Photo: Contributed.
JOB DONE: Dubbo Regional Council staff install a smart water meter at a council facility. Photo: Contributed.

The whole intent of a smart meter system is to provide accuracy, efficiencies, awareness and, if/when required, education and compliance.

Dubbo Regional Council CEO Michael McMahon

Householders and business people will be forced to have smart water meters if Dubbo Regional Council gets its way.

The council would use the technology to detect "excessive water use".

It wants the state government to cover half the cost of the roll-out of smart meters to 17,700 homes and 2300 businesses.

The rest would be "absorbed" by the council, says its chief executive officer (CEO) Michael McMahon.

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His advice follows another jump in water use in Dubbo and Wellington where level four water restrictions have a target of 280 litres (L) per person per day.

In the week ending November 24, Dubbo residents used 326L and Wellington 325L.

But the CEO reports the council has "for some time considered and made plans to install smart meters".

Asked if their installation in homes and businesses would be compulsory, he said: "The smart meters will be rolled out across the whole local government area, installed by council."

A smart water meter.

A smart water meter.

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Mr McMahon said smart meters were able to monitor and report on water usage in real time.

"The technology will provide council with the opportunity, regardless of water restrictions, to provide end users with advice on their water usage, or in extreme cases where excessive water use is detected, make further inquiries," he said.

"The whole intent of a smart meter system is to provide accuracy, efficiencies, awareness and, if/when required, education and compliance.

"It can also be used to detect water leaks which could create added expense to the property owner if not detected early. "

A funding proposal was submitted to Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders on October 31.

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The council is seeking a 50 per cent contribution to either the $3.27 million cost of installing "clip-on devices to existing connections" or the $4.54 million cost of "full meter replacement".

It began introducing smart meters to its own facilities when level three water restrictions began on October 1.