All commercial establishments to have digital water meters soon

Smart devices have already been fixed in 10,500 buildings in the city

The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) is set to complete the project of fixing digital water meters with automated meter reading (AMR) in all commercial establishments in the city in February.

Of the 12,708 commercial and water-intensive establishments, including companies, hotels and educational institutions, identified across the city, the water board has fixed digital meters in about 10,500 buildings. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project, according to officials.

The installation of the remaining smart meters, procured with funding under the Smart City Mission, would be completed in February. Commercial establishments using about 500 kilolitres fall in the water-intensive category and would be charged ₹60 per 1,000 litres. The rates would differ according to the category. The meters would record and transmit the data to a central system through radio frequency. This would help officials read and monitor the meters from the area office concerned and the head offices every month. Consumers would get text messages about the bill. At present, meter reading is taken through manual checking system and hand-held devices.

Once the meters are fixed, the board expects the revenue to go up by 15% to 20%. The cost of the meters would be collected from the consumer along with the bill, the officials said. The meters have been procured from Hitron, a French company, as part of the ₹9.5 crore project to encourage judicious use of drinking water.

With abundant storage in city reservoirs, the water board is supplying 830.41 million litres of water a day. While nearly 792.04 mld is provided through pipelines and lorries, the remaining is supplied to industries, bulk consumers and neighbouring local bodies.

The CMWSSB proposes to extend the metering system to consumers in core areas of the city in the next phase. This had been proposed as a package for distribution in the project to build the fourth desalination plant with a capacity to treat 400 mld of seawater at Perur.

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