The city of Sudbury is has awarded Pickering, Ont.-based Diameter Services a contract to develop a plan to give citizens real-time access to their water use, taking it one step closer to being a “smart city.”
Diameter Services is a consulting firm that focuses explicitly on water meters independent of the technology. Joel Carty, principal consultant of Diameter Services, told Water Canada, “We put a proposal about two years ago for a business case. That business case included looking at their existing water business processes and needs, and we identified technology business drivers that would be important to the city.”
Previously the city was working with a manual touch pad system where city workers would walk door-to-door to take a reading. Carty said that the number of residential meter replacements was adding up and the city decided that it was the appropriate time to upgrade the technology. Council eventually voted in favour of upgrades that will eliminate the need for the manual collection of data and will enable hourly readings.
Smart water meters can be useful for informing asset management plans, facilitating public education and water conservation programs, identifying leaks, and to help customers monitor their water usage in relation to water billing.
There are around 42,000 meters in Sudbury that would need to be changed if the new systems are accepted by city council. Another 6,000 residents have newer meters that could accommodate the change or add-ons in technology. The project comes with an estimated price tag between $16.5 and $17.5 million. That includes the system, meters, and installations, as well as some upgrades to existing infrastructure. Carty said the next steps will involve identifying the best technology to fit the city’s current and future needs.
Diameter Services has facilitated over ten feasibility and implementation studies as well as managed programs to implement automatic meter reading (AMR) and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technology for the City of Toronto and Baltimore.