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Byron Shire
July 15, 2024

Ballina Council join study to understand water use

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Ballina Council has joined Bathurst, Dubbo and the Murray River Council areas to participate in a cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology that aims to identify how people use water across regional NSW. 

The aim is to help improve water efficiency by putting a spotlight on how often we are turning on the taps or flushing the toilet. 

‘If someone asked you how much water you use every day to shower, brush your teeth, fill up your water bottle or boil the kettle, most people wouldn’t know,’ said NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, Executive Director of Operations Resilience, Ashraf El-Sherbini.

‘This study will bring smart meters and AI technology together to help us understand exactly how much water is being used in regional homes and for what purposes. 

‘Looking at supply and demand trends will enable government and Local Water Utilities to make more informed decisions about water management in regional NSW including how to minimise usage, when to implement water restrictions, whether infrastructure needs upgrading and how to make the most of the water we’ve got.’

The study is being conducted by Griffith University using its AI software program, Autoflow, to pinpoint how many litres of water are being used in the household and for what purposes. 

Autoflow uses existing knowledge predetermined by other water usage studies to analyse smart meter data and categorise the information into different household activities. 

These insights will lift the lid on water consumption patterns that will enable government and Local Water Utilities to make more informed water management decisions particularly during drought and peak demand periods. 

‘Our innovative Artificial Intelligence software model has been created using existing water data and various AI techniques to identify usage trends and patterns that are captured on the smart meter,’ Griffith University School of Engineering & Built Environment, Professor Rodney Stewart said.

‘The software will then harvest this information and categorise it into different residential activities from flushing a toilet to running a bath and watering the garden.  

‘Previously, getting this sort of information wouldn’t have been possible using smart meters alone, so we’re really pleased to be partnering with the NSW government to shed light on regional water use that will help shape future water efficiency programs across the state.’


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1 COMMENT

  1. Better make sure that Ballina have counted their number of connections correctly for this study to be of any use. In 2012 Rous Water revised the number of connections in Ballina up by 1167, because apparently Rous didn’t know the correct number of connections in the Ballina system.

    Considering each new connection has to pay Rous $10,000, I hope Ballina sent Rous a check for $11,670,000 for the new connections. If not why not – did the developers not pay the Rous connection charge, or did Ballina collect the Rous connection charge and keep it for themself?

    And since Rous no longer publishes its connection data, is Ballina still undercounting their connections? And is Rous receiving the correct number of Headworks charges?

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