Installed Base of Smart Water Meters to Surpass 31 Million by 2016

July 13, 2010

Water scarcity is a looming issue that will affect nearly half the world’s population by 2030.  In the United States, the problem is even more near term, with 36 states expected to face water shortages by 2013.  At the same time, water utilities around the world are hard-pressed to deliver water efficiently.  Non-revenue water is the difference between water pumped, treated, and supplied to the distribution system versus water that actually reaches customers.  For developed countries, non-revenue water often runs around 20% of the total.  Developing countries lose as much as 50% of treated water to distribution system leaks, theft, and poor measurement techniques.

These trends are prompting water utilities around the world to adopt smart water meters, which add consumption data collection and communications to water meters so that utilities and their customers can track usage and minimize waste.  According to a new report from Pike Research, the worldwide installed base of smart and smart-enabled water meters will grow to 31.8 million by 2016, up from 5.2 million in 2009.  By the end of that period, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts that smart water meters will account for 31% of all new water meter shipments.

“Early deployments have proven that smart water meter investments produce very strong results for water utilities,” says research analyst Jevan Fox.  “Greater accuracy in measurement and billing has been demonstrated to reduce water consumption, decrease the rate of non-revenue water, lower utility operating expenses associated with meter reading, and reduce customer service calls and complaints.”

However, adds Fox, the growth of smart water meters faces several key challenges including cultural barriers to frequent water metering and billing, labor union resistance to meter automation, and technological challenges associated with deploying long-life communications networks for smart water meters.  In addition, the water utility market is highly fragmented; in the United States, which is the largest market for smart water metering, there are approximately 52,000 water suppliers, and this fragmentation is common in other parts of the world as well.

Pike Research’s report, “Smart Water Meters”, examines the worldwide market for smart water metering, including an in-depth analysis of market drivers and barriers, technology issues, and key industry dynamics.  Case studies are provided for major smart meter water deployments, and key industry players are profiled, including an analysis of their relative strengths and weaknesses.  The report includes detailed market segmentation and forecasts through 2016.  An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets.  The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Clean Transportation, Clean Industry, Corporate Sustainability, and Building Efficiency sectors.  For more information, visit www.navigantresearch.com or call +1.303.953.9765.

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