A Water Flow Meter for Smart Metering Applications
The 9th South African Conference on Computational and Applied Mechanics, SACAM2014, Stellenbosch University, Somerset West, South Africa.
The availability and depletion of natural resources is increasingly punted as the limiting factor for sustainability. A lot of focus, especially in drought-stricken countries, is placed on water conservation. One way to affect prudence with this scarce resource is to generally create timely awareness of consumption thereof, and also the related cost for the consumers. Existing metering solutions are often manually read by officials, and the information difficult to digest. Moreover, billing information, which serves as feedback, lags consumption by several weeks. Smart meters address many of these challenges by enabling electronic and real-time metering, but are still prohibitively expensive. In this paper, a novel low-cost water flow meter is developed for use in household smart metering solutions. The design is based on an orifice plate, to leverage the Venturi effect, which causes a measurable pressure drop. The results demonstrate that the meter provides accurate and repeatable results, mostly indistinguishable from the results of a much more expensive meter. Further improvements are also suggested.