Selecting solution systems


In 2011, challenged by a rapidly growing population putting increasing pressure on available water infrastructure, Mackay Regional Council (MRC) faced the prospect of reaching capacity in its main water treatment plant. While one option was to build a new water treatment plant (with a $100M price tag), the non-capital solution identified was to reduce per capita consumption.

Initial calculations indicated a 10% reduction in per capita consumption could likely delay the new plant by 4-5 years. A key prerequisite for a demand management program was detailed information around usage patterns and water losses, of which MRC had little or no information.

Taggle Systems, at the time a small start-up, demonstrated that it could collect hourly water meter readings at a low enough cost using its new Low Power Wide Area Network technology, to establish a viable business case. After a few trials, MRC committed to using Taggle’s network to automatically read its 40,000+ water meters and started on a journey which would transform its water business.

Increasing from 80,000 to around 300 million meter reads per year, highlighted many aspects of consumption which were previously unknown. Identifying customers’ water leaks quickly, along with an active customer notification program, resulted in a reduction of average leak duration from 150 days to less than 60 days.

Observing that outdoor water use was a major contributor to the peak demand for water in the critical dry season periods, MRC also ran a social marketing campaign on water conservation focused on watering lawns using water-wise plants.

The detailed data generated has also helped MRC to significantly improve its level of consumer engagement. A dedicated customer portal now enables MRC’s water consumers to view their daily consumption, understand how they compare to their peers, and set up customised alerts to help manage consumption.

MRC’s demand management activities, informed by Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) data, have resulted in a 12% reduction in per capita consumption. The $100M water treatment plant, planned for 2022, has been pushed back to 2032. Capital deferment and cost efficiencies, resulting from the AMR and other initiatives, have enabled MRC to freeze prices for water and sewerage for two years.

MRC’s outstanding work was recognised in 2016, winning both national and international awards for transforming its water business.

More case studies
Sunshine Coast Council: Smart street+-

In 2017, Bulcock Street Caloundra will be Australia’s first smart city urban streetscape demonstration and testing facility.  A range of technologies will be installed on Bulcock Street including:

  • Dedicated Smart City communications conduits:
o   Council owned and controlled active optic fibre network
o   Council protected through a Telecommunications Carrier Licence
  • Dedicated smart city electrical network to support LED lighting using smart controls and other systems:
o   Smart poles designed to house the smart city communications and electrical requirements
o   Multi-function poles allowing rapid change of components
  • Smart waste sensors
o   Bin sensors to measure waste levels and provide data to council for more cost effective waste management services
  • Smart parking sensors
o   Deliver real time parking availability through Council’s SCCApp
o   Monitor dwell time and vehicle turn over rates to maximise outcomes for local businesses
  • An integrated testing and demonstration space combining the Smart Centre and Living Lab with the smart street features
  • Automatic bollards enable the street to be closed safely for market day and special events
  • Sensors turn off the irrigation system if they detect rain
  • Ability to control various components remotely via smart phone or tablet
  • Smart Wi-Fi
o   Data collected from free public Wi-Fi access points allows Council to understand how public spaces are used to inform future design and planning.

The integration of these technologies with the Smart Region Management Platform delivers an integrated secure and rules based system. Named an International Smart 21 City for 2017 by the worldwide Intelligent Community Forum, for the Sunshine Coast, smart city technologies build a stronger economy, a safer community and improve service delivery to residents, businesses and visitors.

Duncan Solutions: Integrated parking meters+-

Duncan Solutions worked collaboratively with Macau’s parking operations authority for two years to provide smart integrated parking meters to the region, which still used traditional coin-operated meters until recently.

Following an initial installation of 200 VX meters, an additional 500 were delivered in February 2017.

Duncan Solutions used its certified payments capability developed in-house in Australia, which  accepts payment from the Macau Pass card solution, allowing citizens to use the card as a form of electronic payment for transportation much like a debit card.

When paired with Parking Enterprise Management System (PEMS), the collection, auditing and financial reporting of coins and electronic payments is streamlined, maintenance can be alerted to faulty meters and operational data can be relayed to management in real-time.