What if new technologies came to our aid to better manage our water consumption?

Faced with water and resource scarcity, undermined by climate change and human actions, new solutions must be found. This is the belief of Tristan Mathieu. The general representative of the Professional Federation of Water Companies, which brings together companies representing public water services in France, he is convinced that the evolution of the profession depends on its digitalization and especially on infrastructure.

Thus, new technologies can come to the aid of professionals as well as water users when it comes to saving water. Special thanks to those who are already at work,In twenty years, we have gone from management, which consisted in ensuring the quality and availability of water, to the concept of service and sobriety.“.

Tristan Mathieu is the General Delegate of the Professional Federation of Water Companies, which is made up of private delegates from the public water service. (Photo DR).

Connected probes for leak detection

To save water, you must first make sure you don’t waste it. In other words, we must fight leakage and increase profitability. “Today, water companies report revenues of just over 81%, Tristan Mathieu is the first to emphasize. This is 1-2 points higher than the national average, thanks to the special focus on chains.

Among the measures that, according to the general delegate, saved 700 million cubic meters of water compared to fifteen years ago, acoustic probes were connected and installed on the networks.

Sensors record the sound that water makes when it leaks.“explains Tristan Mathieu. In this way, these sensors detect leaks, locate them with the greatest possible accuracy and, above all, transmit this information connected to each other. In this way, they allow you to quickly intervene and eliminate the leak.

Most often, we look for leaks using acoustic probes. But their connected version, installed on just under 5% of pipes across France, allows for immediate warning of their occurrence. (Photo doc. SH).

Of course, the boss of the Federation of Water Companies insists, about ten million kilometers of the water network that France has, “It’s impossible for there to be no leakHowever, it is easy to imagine the additional savings that could be realized if most of the network were equipped with detection sensors. Today, in fact, less than 5% of the pipes are monitored by this system before the water reaches the users’ meters.

It should be noted that the latter can also benefit from such devices, which can be installed, for example, in condominiums or even in private homes: sealed probes can be found in craft stores and even more easily on the Internet.

Remote reading for monitoring water consumption

This is Linky water. A smart as well as connected meter that allows both water companies to remotely read the consumption of their subscribers, and the latter to control their consumption.

At the moment, 40% of water users through private companies are equipped with “remote reading”. This is the case, for example, in Hyères. This device has, according to Tristan Mathieu, several advantages. First, like acoustic sensors, smart meters can detect leaks after measurement. “If we see that the user continues to maintain speed between midnight and 4 am, this is definitely a loss.“Therefore, this can be reported to him so that he can take the necessary measures.”More than 100,000 leaks found thanks to remote reading‘, says Tristan Mathieu.

Apart from this very specific benefit, remote reading also allows water subscribers to control their consumption. “It can be imagined that, having more complete information about the amount of water they consume, subscribers will be able to take measures to reduce it.” hopes the general delegate.

Remote reading is the installation of a smart meter that monitors water consumption in real time. (Photo DR).

And if that’s not enough, municipalities, which can thus know exactly when water needs are more urgent, can take incentive measures such as a “price signal”. “That is, when there are seven times as many people in the summer, society can raise prices to encourage consumers to consume more moderately..” Even if it means lowering prices in winter to keep average prices for the year.

“Push” applications and alerts to increase user awareness

The issue of user awareness is at the heart of water management. “Water companies rely on smartphones, in particular, to run digital campaigns.“, says Tristan Mathieu.

Thus, subscribers can, through their provider’s application, register to receive alerts. Thus, by “pushing” they are informed about periods of drought, restrictions, or simply vigilance. They also receive information about the level of savings and water consumption. “People set up, for example, their application to receive alerts when they reach a consumption threshold that they have predetermined.“, – illustrates the boss of the federation.

Simulators to determine its consumption

Knowing that we have drunk X thousand liters of water is the first step to understanding its use. But it is still necessary to be able to analyze them in order to determine whether this consumption is “normal” according to the configuration of his house. “These are questions that users often have“, points out Tristan Mathieu. To which the consumption simulations that water companies place on their websites make it possible to answer.

You enter your details, say where you live, who makes up your household, whether you have a garden, etc. From there you are given an average consumption that should match your usage.“, – explains the expert. In other words, if the estimate is lower than the actual consumption, it may be time to take measures to save the resource. Or continue efforts if the observed consumption is below its estimate.

If you want to find out how your intake is, you can, for example, complete the water information center simulator.