How Itron is making waves with smart water solutions

Wed, 2014-08-20 06:00 -- Jesse Berst

Earlier this month Council Lead Partner Itron announced that the city of Bismarck, North Dakota’s water department selected it to help modernize its water distribution system. Keep reading, because there are some things going on in Bismarck that cities everywhere should pay attention to.

Bismarck will manage its water system using the Itron network already deployed by Montana-Dakota Utilities Company, provider of electric and natural gas service to parts of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Put another way, an electric power utility is sharing its communications network with a separate entity – the city of Bismarck water department. It is such a smart way for a utility to share both the benefits and the costs of smart meter communications – but sadly, it doesn't happen often.

In fact, Itron says the public-private partnership is the first instance in which two utilities are cooperating to share a communications network where a city’s entire meter population is being managed. Bismarck will use Itron’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solution along with Itron Analytics as a service and Itron Services to improve operational efficiencies and streamline meter reading.

What that means is Bismarck can reliably collect water consumption and transform it into valuable and actionable intelligence across the utility. The solution will provide Bismarck with detailed usage information to improve customer service, protect revenue and better manage water resources. And with Itron Analytics, the utility will be able to gain more value from its advanced metering investment to improve utility operations and asset management.

More progress on the smart water front

What's happening in Bismarck is just one example of how the company from Liberty Lake, Washington is helping cities around the world solve water challenges – and just may indicate we are finally seeing some progress on that front.

For example, Itron recently signed a four-year contract to supply water meters to Evides Waterbedrijf, water supplier to 2.5 million customers in the Western Netherlands. The utility will use Itron’s AMI-ready volumetric water meters to accurately and reliably manage water delivery to residential customers. Itron will supply up to 100,000 water meters per year for four years. The solution, designed for long-term performance and reliability, will help Evides maximize revenue collection over time.

Earlier this summer the largest municipal water utility in Germany, Hamburg Wasser chose Itron to help modernize its water metering system. The utility is counting on the meters to improve customer billing, recover revenue and account for water usage to conserve resources.

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Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to learn about the benefits you receive when you join the Council for free. Follow @Jesse_Berst and connect on LinkedIn.