Smart water meter for every Antwerp household by the end of 2020

Antwerp water company water-link is going to install 205,000 smart meters covering every household in Antwerp over the coming years. This Thursday, a concession agreement was signed in Antwerp city hall for the purpose.

The meters send readings every day, allowing real time-billing, fast leakage detection, and rational use of water. The flow from the water can also be controlled remotely, which should limit water disconnections.

Antwerp has been positioning itself as a ‘City of Things' for some time, where all kinds of data will be collected to improve the efficiency of services. On Thursday, water-link officially signed a concession agreement, under which a network of smart meters will be installed. ENGIE Fabricom and Hydroko will be responsible for the meters. Dozens of antennas will also be erected in the city to receive encrypted data on a daily basis.

To measure is to know.

"The benefits of the system are endless," says André Gantman, president of water-link. “The consumer benefits because meter readings no longer have to be passed on. We can quickly detect leaks, and warn the customer. Burglaries due to scammers will drop, and there will be other benefits in terms of budget control and rational water consumption. Consumption can be monitored via the internet and apps. To measure is to know."

Initially, there will be a 12-month pilot project to test the meters. The Antwerp Public Centre for Social Welfare is among those participating. Also 500 voluntary individuals can register online. This will be followed by a rollout of the system to cover all customers by the end of 2020. According to Antwerp Alderman of Social Affairs Fons Duchateau
(N-VA), smart water meters also have a social utility, since those in arrears with paying bills will no longer face disconnection. The flow of water can be controlled remotely, allowing a minimum supply without complete disconnection.

Privacy assured

The privacy of measurement data will also be protected. Water-link will be able to warn residents quickly when their consumption is considerably higher than expected, but no data will be provided to third parties, except in the context of a judicial investigation. Water-link is holding ongoing discussions with the Belgian Privacy Commission.

The whole system will cost water-link some "tens of millions" of euros. The public procurement contract also covers expansion in Veurne and Knokke-Heist. The water companies AGSO (Knokke-Heist) and IVWA (Furnes) can also participate, which would involve around another 50,000 meters.

ENGIE emphasized that it also sees other uses for the SIGFOX network, which transmits data from the meters: for example, providing information about empty parking spaces. Every day, water-link supplies about 400,000 cubic meters of drinking water to consumers, industry and other companies. On average, Antwerp residents use 120 liters of water each day. # [Belga/KVdS]

Source: Data News (Knack) 24/06/2016