Thames Water and SmartReach extend smart water meter trial

Project shows how smart water metering can help water companies to better manage their networks, reduce leaks and conserve water.

SmartReach, a collaboration of Arqiva, BT, BAE Systems Detica and Sensus for smart metering communications in Great Britain, has announced the extension of its smart meter and smart grid trial in the Reading area to include London.

The SmartReach solution has been used in the Reading trial to demonstrate the suitability of a long-range radio based communications network for communicating with water meters. This extension to the trial will enable Thames Water and SmartReach to assess the performance of the communications system from locations with different housing stock and difficult to reach, underground meter locations.

Ensuring that the utility companies can connect smart meters to the network first time, and that communication can be established with all meters, will be critical factors in successfully achieving the Government’s 2019 deadline for the deployment of smart energy meters to all homes and small premises. SmartReach has been running trials with Scottish Power, SSE and Thames Water to demonstrate the suitability of long-range radio for dedicated smart meter communications, for energy as well as for water networks.

While the installation of smart water meters has not been mandated by UK government, the trial with Thames Water will enable the benefits such a system could provide to the operation of a water network to be evaluated. Widely deployed in the US, where more than 9 million smart meter and grid end points are connected to long-range radio based networks from Sensus, the technology has been shown to be suitable for meters located in hard-to-reach locations such as meter pits, cellars and basements.

Dr Piers Clark, commercial director at Thames Water, said: “As water becomes an increasingly precious resource, smart water metering will play a critical role in helping the water industry to better manage consumption and leakage. Based on the current trial with SmartReach in Reading, we believe that long-range radio offers a simple, quick, non-obtrusive and efficient means of building a Smart Water Meter network. The system promises far more available data on water flows that will help Thames Water to manage consumer demand and pinpoint leakages. Extending the scope of the trial to London will provide further valuable data.”

David Green, smart metering sales director for Arqiva, said: “We are delighted to extend the smart metering trial with Thames Water. It is demonstrating the importance of smart meters to the water industry and proving the suitability of Long-Range Radio as a communications solution for smart water, smart meters and smart grids.”

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