The Kerala Water Authority is embarking on two pilot projects that will ride on the General Packet Radio System (GPRS) technology and a Geographic Information System (GIS) platform as part of its attempts to improve its functioning and service capabilities.
The first will be the introduction of an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system that is expected to be launched within two months in the capital city. According to K.S. Praveen, Assistant Executive Engineer with the KWA’s Non-Revenue Water Management Unit that is handling both the projects, the AMR system will look at replacing the current method of manual reading of meters once in two months. “The present system has a few flaws, including meter errors and also the possibility of manipulation by consumers. What we are looking at is a system that will target non-domestic customers with a consumption of at least 500kL during each billing period, wherein we can monitor the meter readings on a server sitting at Jalabhavan in Vellayambalam. We are looking at transmission of pulses generated via GPRS to the server to enable real-time monitoring. Whether existing mechanical meters will be used for this or whether digital meters will have to be installed will be decided shortly,” he said.
The real-time monitoring, according Mr. Praveen, will be helpful to consumers who will not have to face the situation of an abnormal bill after two months since variations could be found out immediately. Leakages and manipulations, too, could be detected without delay. About 500 such non-domestic consumers from the city have been identified for the project.
Almost simultaneously, the KWA is launching a baseline survey and an asset management project to generate an information management system on its assets. As of now, only rough maps, not updated for several years with an accuracy less than 60 per cent, were what served the KWA on its pipeline network. The asset management project will involve purchase of high-resolution satellite data, preparation of base maps using GPS coordinates, geo-referencing and digitisation of information, an asset survey, and so on.
All these would be on a GIS platform, enabling KWA to retrieve the information whenever necessary. This would mean that a single click on the image of a pipe could throw up on the screen the size of the pipe, location, pressure of water and so on.