A smart meter to enhance control of water usage and cost    

Development and installation of a smart meter to capture water usage data

Currently, households in Singapore are not able to identify the specific activities that cause the water wastage should there be a surge in water usage. Water is used for a range of household activities, and it is difficult to identify which activity is causing the wastage. Mechanical water meters may be installed at water points of households to monitor and understand their water usage. However, this method is difficult and inaccurate as users need to manually record the readings every day for weeks.  

Hoping to help low-income households to better manage their water usage and bills, Ecosoftt and CLASIC proposed a project to develop and install smart water meters that can monitor water usage at different outlets in low-income households. The smart meter should be able to store data for a period of at least two weeks. Data should be retrievable so that they can be analysed to determine the water usage at the different water points of the households. This will help users to better understand and adjust their usage behaviour to save cost.  

Under the guidance of Engineering faculty, Assoc Professor Steven Tay, Assoc Professor Alfred Tan and Asst Professor Kyrin Liong, a group of Mechanical Engineering Year 2 students worked on the proposal as a Specialised Engineering Project. In July 2021, the project team completed and presented their prototype in class and to representatives of CLASIC and Ecosoftt Pte Ltd. The device has successfully met the requirements in data capture, is cost-effective and is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. 

The project team is in the process of filing a provisional patent for their creation. To bring the project to the next phase, CLASIC has awarded a project grant to fund the production of smart meters for students to conduct a 2-week trial in 20 households from now till early 2022. Through the support of PUB, the Singapore Plumbing Society (SPS) has kindly agreed to sponsor the installation of the devices in the identified households. The project findings would be shared with PUB to enhance their understanding of water consumption patterns in low-income households.