While there has been an increase in rain in the Western Cape, the province and the country’s water woes are far from over. According to scientists, there is a cyclic pattern which repeats itself about every 220 years of 10 exceptionally dry years and we are currently only in the 7th year of this cycle.
The impact of this is also evident in the drought currently facing parts of the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State and North West and continued water restrictions in other provinces. The high cost of living is also putting South African households under pressure to save as much money as possible.
The Internet of Things (IoT) enables municipalities, companies, facility managers, body corporates and even individual consumers to monitor their water consumption and detect leaks before they result in high bills. It also gives them near real-time visibility of their water usage, so they can change their water consumption habits if required.
“The sustainability of our water resources in South Africa is everyone’s problem,” says Dhasi Naidoo, Chief Strategy Officer at Ontec Systems. “There are several reasons why it is important. For companies or institutions using high volumes of water, it makes sense to have a near real-time view of their consumption to drive down costs in this tough economic climate,” he says.
The promulgation of the Water Amendment By-Law in the Western Cape in July this year also puts the responsibility of monitoring water consumption on the shoulders of body corporates and facilities managers. “Ontec’s water monitoring and leak detection solution called GaugeIT, gives landlords and body corporates a visual tool to monitor and measure their resident’s consumption in near real time directly on their cell phone. Through GaugeIT they can have sight of the usage of individual dwellings or commercial units, ensuring that they do not exceed the usage limits specified.”
Additionally, municipalities can benefit from this solution as it provides transparent billing and usage. “We know consumers don’t always trust that their municipalities are billing them accurately, which leads to lengthy disputes. Ontec creates smart solutions that build trust by providing transparent reporting on actual usage through IoT. Additionally, consumers benefit from a near real-time view of their consumption, which eliminates nasty surprises when they receive their bill at the end of the month and giving them valuable insight should there be a discrepancy in their billing,” says Naidoo.
GaugeIT can be retrofitted to any water meter to track usage and detect leaks early, saving users enormous amounts of money. Key features on the system include near real-time monitoring on the app, early leak alarm and high usage warnings to avoid any unforeseen monthly water bills. The user can also measure water consumption versus the utility bill to avoid excessive charges and unexpected cut-offs.
“GaugeIT’s biggest value proposition is to create awareness and to empower the consumer to make better decisions with resources,” concludes Naidoo. “We want to see people build towards the smart evolution by being in control and part of a smart community, with smart living, which in turn will help them trust their municipalities more when it comes to billing.”