Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT February 2017

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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14 | FEBRUARY 2017 | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk Industry leader Professor Dragan Savic, Exeter University "If you can't measure, you can't manage - and the most uncertain element of water management is the demand." introduce this to residential customers it would equate to an average £6 reduction in their water bill over a year. That doesn't sound much, does it? But the thing is that we use so much energy in our households related to heating water, that small reduction in water use will equate to a big reduction in energy use." Smart metering is a single innovation that has multiple bene• ts to several di• erent parties, he points out. Not only can the customer save on both water and energy costs, and retailers win business as a result, but better usage data will be the key to clamping down on customer-side leakage, which accounts for around a quarter of water losses. In areas of water stress, such as London and the South East, managing demand will help ease pressure on resources, while in other areas serving a large geographical area, the data will help wholesale businesses manage the network more e• ectively. "There is an old adage that if you can't measure, you can't manage - and the most uncertain element of water management is the demand," says Savic. Yet it is these multiple bene• ts that o… en make it especially di† cult to calculate the investment case for smart technologies, he adds. "The providers of smart solutions o… en sell their technology without really understanding how the business bene• ts of that new technology can be quanti• ed and re• ned. In the water industry, the bene• ts are not always in a single utility. So if by reducing water usage we reduce energy usage, should it just be the water company that has to pay for a water meter, or do we • nd another bene• ciary to contribute to the cost? One of the barriers to innovation is how to quantify those kind of externalities in the cost-bene• t analysis which is normally used for deciding whether a new technology will be implemented or not." Professor Savic is talking to me in advance of the WWT Smart Water Networks Conference in March, which he is chairing. The exciting aspect T he combination of smart metering and increasing retail competition will allow companies and customers to make the link between water and energy use, unlocking savings and e† ciencies, according to a leading academic in the • eld of smart water. Professor Dragan Savic, co-director of the Centre for Water Systems at Exeter University, tells WWT that retail competition will mean that new entrants and incumbents alike will need to o• er additional services to win customers in a competitive environment, and smart metering and the tie-up with energy could be key to this. "We've already seen at least one new entrant o• ering energy and water retail together, and this is one of the biggest business innovations I expect to happen over the next • ve to twenty years," says Professor Savic. "We are all looking at smart meters and the idea of managing demand and giving instantaneous feedback to customers, and it's estimated that if you Interview by James Brockett

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