Penneshaw first to access smart water meter technology

SMART METER: Dr Helen Edmonds holds one of the smart meters, which will be installed through Penneshaw in the coming months. Photo: SA Water.

SMART METER: Dr Helen Edmonds holds one of the smart meters, which will be installed through Penneshaw in the coming months. Photo: SA Water.

Penneshaw residents might have noticed the presence of around 300 SA Water smart meters installed around the town, appearing in businesses and residences to help them better manage their water use and water bills.

People living in Penneshaw have become the first SA Water residential customers with access to this smart technology, following the trial of a smart water network in the Adelaide CBD, located at 70 business customer sites. 

SA Water’s manager of water assets, Dr Helen Edmonds said the Penneshaw community would be able to use smart meters to monitor their water consumption through a secure online portal. 

“A data logger to be attached or built into each customers water meter will send water use information to their individual portal every 60 minutes, which can be viewed online at any time,” Dr Edmonds said.

“Once the portals are activated, there will also be an option for people to receive SMS or email notifications on their water use trends or inconsistencies, on either a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

“This interconnected system will help customers identify potential leaks or other faults in their plumbing, which may indicate periods or spikes of unexplained high water use.

“A dedicated team will be on-hand via phone or email to help our customers understand the data and what can be done to resolve any issues.”

The small and contained nature of Penneshaw’s local water main network, as well as the area topography, which provides for radio transmission to securely relay the information from meter to portal, was the reason the town was chosen for this pilot project.

It is expected that the instillation process of the smart meters is expected to be done by late September and completed by KI-based plumbers engaged through Fleurieu Civil, with all equipment, including the customer portals, to be operational from October. 

Approximately 300 SA Water customers on the eastern end of Kangaroo Island receive their water from the Penneshaw Desalination Plant, which was originally built in 1999 and upgraded last year. 

Penneshaw is capable of producing up to 120 million litres a year, and readily meets the area’s current average annual demand of 69 million litres. It takes Penneshaw around two hours to turn sea water into fresh water for drinking, before it’s distributed through around 15 kilometres of pipes.

Seawater drawn into the plant is filtered to remove fine particles. The filtered seawater is then forced under high pressure through reverse osmosis membranes that allow fresh water to pass through, with saline water channelled away. 

The desalinated water is re-mineralised with carbon dioxide and exposure to marble chips, to reduce its corrosive properties and improve taste, prior to final chlorine disinfection.