The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has said the era of illegal connections and meter theft will be a thing of the past as it readies to introduce smart meters from November.
The exercise will begin with some 40,000 Danish intelligent meters, which officials of the company are upbeat will help diminish the nation’s water supply challenges and boost its revenue.
“Next month, we are going to start installation of the smart meters; we have already procured 40,000 and an additional 40,000 are in the process. We are starting in Accra, then as we spread across we move it to the rest of the regions,” Richard Appiah Otoo, Chief Technology and Innovation Manager of GWCL told B&FT in an interview.
Smart water metering provides utilities with a large amount of data and the knowledge needed to stay informed about the distribution network. For Ghana, the investment in this technology will bring many advantages for the consumers, but also have a significant positive impact on preserving the country’s water resources in general, the company said.
Currently, non-revenue water – or water that is not accounted for – makes up more than half of Ghana’s total water consumption. This is both a consequence of many consumers not having a water meter installed and unknown leakages in the pipes between consumers and the utility, resulting in water wastage.
The Chief Technology and Innovation Manager of GWCL also explained that the old meters gave the company problems, in the sense that they had some elements that were valuable which thieves targetted.
He explained, however, that the new smart meters are full of plastic and will be worthless to anyone who steals them.
“They also have additional capabilities: [with the old meter] when there is no water flowing through taps, you open it and there is only air coming out but still your meter read; this one has in-built air-valves, whereby once there is air your meter doesn’t move; and has a battery that allows the meter to live for about 15 years.”
Meters supporting remote reading are set to make the reading process much more convenient for both consumers and utilities, as it will replace manual reading of meters. Besides operational efficiency, remote reading will be able to give the utility many possibilities with the data it can collect from the remote-read meters.
GWCL is seeking to reduce the non-revenue water ratio of 50% by 5% annually until it achieves the target of 20-25%.