Electronic Household Water Meter: Investigation into a Cost Effective Design
This report was produced for the Urban Water Research Association of Australia, a now discontinued research program.
Report no. UWRAA 59
A low cost Electronic Household Water Meter has been successfully designed and two prototypes have been field trialled for five and a half weeks. The electronic meters contain a processing unit and a wire base communication scheme. The module that was created fits easily within a standard Davies Shephard 20mm KGG water meter. Efficient design and component selection has allowed the Electronic Household Water Meter to have an operational life of over 10 years with a single lithium battery.
By incorporating a processing unit within the meter, extra facilities can be included to add value to the meter. The main benefit is the use of the Electronic Household Water Meter in a full Automatic Meter Reading System. Other advantages are the ability to have flow correction for ageing water meters which can improve accuracy over existing water meters. Tamper detection can also be added to detect possible fraud and if the communications cable is cut the information is still retained within the electronic water meter.
The challenges associated with the power consumption requirements and communication methods for the Electronic Household Water Meter were highlighted during the investigation, design and trial of the prototype units. The trials revealed that the methods of lightning protection will need to be investigated in future designs.
The introduction of electronics into the water meter has suggested that production costs can be lowered so that the Electronic Household Water Meter could become a replacement for the standard water meter on the basis of cost rather than technology. This would facilitate the introduction of a full Automatic Meter Reading System which is seen as too costly at this stage.