Water Use Monitoring – Beyond the Water Meter

Kawitrack water meter

In order to ensure high water efficiency in your home or company, you will have to continuously monitor your water usage. This usually involves using devices like water meters, isolation valves, and alert systems.

Benefits of Water Use Monitoring

  1. Helps you understand what affects your company’s water use
  2. Provides an understanding of potential hindrances to water efficiency
  3. Identifies opportunities to save water

How to Monitor Water Use

There are several ways to practice water use monitoring. These include:

Using water meters

Installing meters is the most popular way of monitoring water use in any facility.  However, best results can only be achieved when these devices are placed in the right location and monitored well.

For instance, they should not be installed at the inlet of a water tank that is fed by gravity. This makes it difficult to detect leaks. Ideally, they should be placed after a water filter and before any chemical injection or outlet. You should also always ensure that you get a professional to install the device for you.

Upon successful installation, water meter reading and recording should be done regularly. This allows for the easy tracking of trends and identification of operational inefficiencies and water losses.

Since there are several types of water meters, you should be very careful when selecting one. Here are your options:

Displacement water meters

Also known as positive displacement meters, these devices depend on water to physically move the measuring element in order to measure the flow rate. The two common types of displacement meters are nutating disk meters and oscillating piston meters.

Velocity water meters

As their name suggests, these devices measure water velocity. While there are those that are mechanical such as the jet, turbine and propeller meters, there also those that are electromagnetic.

Commonly referred to as mag meters, electromagnetic water meters use electromagnetic properties to determine water flow velocity. These meters usually need AC or DC electricity to properly operate.

While mag meters offer durability, high accuracy and the ability to measure the flow of unfiltered water, their electronic components easily incur lightning damage. On the other hand, mechanical meters offer low initial costs but get worn out easily when used in silty water.

Ultrasonic water meters

These meters measure the velocity of water by the use of ultrasonic waves. They come in two designs; clamp-on and flow-through. While the latter kind requires water to pass through the meter in order for flow to be measured, the former are clamped on the exterior of pipes.

Ultrasonic meters are highly accurate, require little maintenance, have long life spans and boast of wide flow measurement ranges.

Automatic meter reading

In addition to water meter installation, automatic meter reading is yet another way to monitor your water usage. This involves automatically gathering all your water meter data and storing it on a central database.

Usually, this system gives users access to real-time water meter results and allows for analysis of said results. This can all be done on a mobile phone, laptop or tablet. The information is usually sent through radio frequency or Wi-Fi.

Using isolation valves and pressure gauges

Isolation valves play a vital role in leak detection and eradication. They also make it possible to shut off the supply of water to a certain area in order to enable repair. Pressure  gauges also have an important role to play in leak detection.

For instance, when your pressure gauge reports lower measurements than usual, it is an indication of a water loss somewhere in the system.

Conducting regular water audits

For an in-depth understanding of how water is used within your home or facility, regular water audits are necessary. A water audit gives a summary of the amount of water consumed within your facility.

Kawitrack water use chart

Source: American Water Works Association

Some typical water uses that are usually included in a water audit include toilet flushing, catering, humidification, equipment cooling and showers. Carrying out such an audit helps identify which systems experience the most water loss.

As a result, you can come up with suitable water saving tips. For instance, you may decide to install water saving shower heads and toilets within your facility.

The Bottom Line

For best results, you should use a suitable combination of these water monitoring systems. Additionally, you should hire a water management expert that can advise you on how to farther save water.

Further Reading

Do It Yourself – 3 Types of Water Meters Explained

DairyNZ – Water Meters and Monitoring

Techcrunch – Effectively Monitor Water Use in Your Home With Calliope

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