Top of main content

Thousands of smart meters help to protect water resources in Wandsworth

Monday 14th June 2021 14:40

More than 28,000 smart meters will be installed in Wandsworth

More than 28,000 smart meters will be installed in Wandsworth

More than 28,000 smart meters will be installed in Wandsworth over the next 16 months as Thames Water continues its extensive rollout to protect water resources across London and the Thames Valley.

Hot on the heels of reaching the milestone of half a million smart meters across its region in April, the water company will install the devices in the London borough, which will provide vital data in the battle to reduce leakage and meet the unprecedented demand for water influenced by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s roll-out, which currently covers London and the village of Haslemere, near Guildford, is the biggest smart water meter programme in the UK and, along with helping save water, gives customers greater control over their own water use and bills.

The metering programme in Wandsworth, the 21st London borough to receive the devices, starts today (Monday, June 14) in Queenstown and St Mary’s Park and will see the devices installed in 20 different wards, finishing in October next year.

Mark Cooper, head of metering at Thames Water, said: “The use of smart meters has been a real game changer as they give us such a detailed insight into exactly where the water we put into supply goes, when our customers use water and how much they use.

“The data has been particularly invaluable over the last 12 months as the traditional demand patterns we’ve been used to have changed significantly due to lockdown.

“The typical peak demand periods of early morning and evening are no longer so prominent as fewer people are leaving their homes for work so might shower, use the washing machine or water the plants in the middle part of the day instead.”

The South East is classified as “seriously water stressed” due to population increases and climate change and by 2040 it is forecast that demand in the region will outstrip supply by 414 million litres – the equivalent needed by around two million people – unless action is taken.

By 2025 Thames Water plans to begin the roll out of smart meters across the Thames Valley and expects to have meters fitted for all suitable homes by 2035.

Last year, the smart meter programme contributed to a 13 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of non-visible and customer side leaks that the company repaired, while, to date, smart meters have helped detect more than 28,000 leaks on customers’ private supply pipes, which have been repaired by Thames Water or the property owners and saved a massive 43 million litres of water a day.

The meters, which are usually fitted outside properties, also provide with customers a fairer way to pay their water bills, by charging for the water they have used.

Data from smart meters is being used to support Thames’ award-winning smarter home visit programme, by highlighting higher using households who are then prioritised for a visit. During the visits they received free water saving advice and can have gadgets installed in their homes to help them reduce their water use, such as water saving tap and shower heads. Smart metered customers use on average 17 per cent less water than those without a meter and typically high-using households can reduce their usage by around 100 litres per day following a smarter home visit.

The smarter home advisors can also arrange for leaking loos to be fixed for free and can signpost householders to Thames Water’s priority services and financial support packages if they are classed as vulnerable or struggle with their bills.

Dr Nathan Richardson, head of policy and strategy at Waterwise, said: "Thames Water's smart water meter programme is sector leading and Waterwise are huge fans. It is helping the company and its customers save water; reduce carbon emissions and ultimately it means that more water is left in the environment. We would like to see government, regulators and the rest of the sector getting on board, with smart meters rolled out to all homes.”

Since 2015, Thames Water has installed more than 550,000 smart meters across 21 London boroughs, saving more than 90 million litres of water per day – the equivalent of 36 Olympic swimming pools.