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EghtesadOnline: A researcher team at Khajeh Nasir Toosi University of Technology has developed a smart water meter that can renovate the water supply network.

The smart meters have been designed with assistance from the university’s Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research. The center’s chief Mohammad Khodadadi said similar devices are being used around the globe. “However, this is the first time an Iranian team has been able to produce smart meters independently,” ISNA quoted him as saying.

The devices employ ultrasonic technology for measuring water flow rate and consumption. Contrary to the mechanical models, ultrasonic meters have no moving parts; this means that they are unaffected by wear and tear and maintain precision throughout their lifetime.

Khodadi says the devices can curb human error in reading meters. The devices automatically record and report water consumption via a wireless network. The  meters are equipped with data transmitters that send water consumption data to the receivers in the water company, Financial Tribune reported.

Additionally, the meters are equipped with smart alarms that help the water company detect leaks, bursts, reverse flows. This feature should lower the amount of non-revenue water because the faster a leak is detected and stopped, the less water is wasted.

Non-revenue water is water that has been produced and is "lost" before it reaches the customer. Losses can be real losses (through leaks and seepage, sometimes also referred to as physical losses) or apparent losses (for example through theft or meter inaccuracies).

"If the smart meter project receives enough funding  mass production will start," Khodadi noted. Talks are being held between the meter developers and the Water and Wastewater Company of Iran.

The technology mostly used in smart metering projects for transmitting data is Narrow Band Internet of Things, which is a low-power wide area network radio technology standard that focuses on low cost, long battery life and enables firms to simultaneously monitor a large number of connected devices.


Gaining Momentum

The use of smart metering systems is gaining momentum in Iran. Last year, Mohammad Mehdi Javadian-Zadeh, head of Yazd Regional Water Company, said more than 40% of the province’s agricultural water wells had been equipped with smart  meters. The devices were imported.

“Using the technology will help the water company better manage natural resources” in the desert province that is suffering from chronic rain deficit forever and has long strived to be extra judicious with its dwindling water resources.

With imports hampered due to the US sanctions, locally developed projects can help underpin schemes for replacing mechanical meters.

Utilities in developed and developing countries are promoting smart meters for a variety of economic and environmental reasons, two of which are to cut costs and reduce consumption during peak hours.

Smart metering systems put an end to the manual meter reading, which is prone to technical error and loss. Smart meters have been used in Europe and the US since 2001. Curbing human error through the smart meters, gas, electricity and water consumption can be billed with more accuracy. Users are informed about their daily use and sent notifications in case of excessive consumption.


Iran Researchers Smart Water Meter Khajeh Nasir Toosi University water supply network