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Thames Water has deployed the UK’s first smart water meters, with plans to have all customers upgraded to the digital devices by 2030. Currently approximately a third of its customers are on meters.


Thames Water reports it will fully support customers “to help them save water, energy and money. This includes giving everyone two years before they are moved on to a metered bill, unless they want to switch early and cash-in on the savings, and providing practical support including fitting free water-saving devices that can help reduce a home’s water use by up to a quarter.”

The goal is to encourage more efficient water usage by Thames Water’s 3.5 million households. The Environment Agency has deemed the utility’s service area, which includes London and the Homes Counties, “seriously water-stressed.”

The new meters will collect water usage data every 15 minutes, giving Thames Water a better understanding of where water is being used, and in what quantities, and improve its ability to pinpoint leaks. The meter installation will include an initial check for leaks.

Thames Water’s head of metering Steve Plumb says, “Britain is the only country in the developed world without universal water metering or a plan to achieve it. With London being classified as ‘seriously water-stressed’ by the Environment Agency, and with customers using a third more water than they did 30 years ago, it is really important we act now. Metering is the fairest way to pay for water because you pay for what you use, value what you pay for and as a result tend to use water more efficiently.”

Howard Davidson, the Environment Agency South East’s regional director, South East notes, “It might be raining at the moment but there are times when water is scarce. Being aware of how much water we use is a key step in making sure that we don’t take any more than is necessary from the environment.”

Alan Williams, Chairman of the Darent River Preservation society adds: “The water that supplies our homes and businesses, comes from the aquifers that feed the Darent and Cray. Using more water in our homes means less water for the river. We would urge everyone: use water carefully—it’s a precious commodity.”

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