Chennai Metrowater will soon call for bids to install nearly 2.5 lakh water meters in commercial and high-rise buildings in both core and added areas. The project will be executed under the Chennai City Partnership programme in two phases.
Officials of the water agency noted that documents for the detailed project report were being prepared through the consultant, Steady Taps, for the World Bank-funded programme. Tenders would be called for the work in two months. A total of one lakh meters would be fixed in merged areas where comprehensive water supply schemes have been completed.
Initially, commercial, partially commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings would be covered under the water metering programme. Those buildings that have high water consumption have been identified to be fitted with water meters now.
Similarly, nearly 1.5 lakh water meters would be fixed in core areas. However, individual consumers would be covered in later phases. Though the project has been divided into two phases, work on both would be carried out simultaneously.
In a bid to ensure judicious use of water and reduce non-revenue water through leaks or theft, smart electromagnetic meters with IoT sensors would be installed.
As of now, the water agency has fixed 24,095 meters of which 12,708 devices have automated meter reading (AMR). Commercial and water-intensive consumers have been covered with meters.
On average, a demand of ₹5-₹5.5 crore towards water consumption charges is raised every month through AMR meters. Metrowater provided drinking water to the city through 7.7 lakh service connections. Consumers with unmetered connections in core areas remitted ₹84 as monthly water charges, officials said.
The water agency plans to cover 90% of the commercial and high-rise buildings under water metering policy by 2025-26.
Sekar Raghavan, director, Rain Centre, a voluntary organisation working towards awareness on rainwater harvesting, said water metering was essential to popularise RWH and judicious use of resources. People who get ample municipal water supply don’t tap the groundwater and it floods the city during monsoon. Water meters are an incentive to alternate between municipal supply and groundwater and sustain resources through harvesting.
Smart meters with AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) interface would be web-based and mobile-based and enable real-time information of water usage. Consumers too would be able to monitor their consumption, monthly billing cycle and reduce use. They may also register complaints through an online redressal mechanism, an official said. The work to install meters would start in 2024 and is expected to be completed in two years.