Media Release

COLIBAN WATER FIRST WATER UTILITY IN VICTORIA TO ADOPT SMART WATER STATIONS

20 March 2019

Joint Media Release - Coliban Water and City of Greater Bendigo

Coliban Water has partnered with the City of Greater Bendigo to install a ‘next generation’ public water bottle refill unit and drinking fountain unlike anything Bendigo, or the region, have seen before.

Coliban Water Acting Executive General Manager Insight and Innovation Amanda Finnis said the ‘MeetPat’ style unit which provides free drinking water to the community has been installed at the Tom Flood Sports Centre in central Bendigo.

“This new unit is so much more than just a water refill unit – it is truly a ‘next generation’ piece of smart technology that is fitted with an online metering system.

“This means it can provide a live usage report at any given time which is publically-available online.
Since being switched on in mid-February, the new unit has reported 698 litres of water used by 1,249 people,” Ms Finnis said.

“It’s also told us that this equates to 885 disposable plastic bottles which have been saved from landfill, 74 kilograms of sugar that people have avoided consuming because they’ve chosen to drink water and 88 kilograms of Carbon Dioxide emissions that have been reduced.

“It’s a fantastic piece of equipment and this is a tangible way to track progress with our ongoing ChooseTap campaign, which encourages community members to drink tap water as part of a healthy lifestyle and as a positive alternative to bottled water.

“The water station is also helping Bendigo on its journey to becoming a smart city’,” Ms Finnis said.

City of Greater Bendigo Active and Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator Matthew Kerlin said council is always looking for ways to innovate and become smarter about providing services to the community.

The water station connects to LoraWAN networks, which stands for Long Range Wide Area Network. These networks connect low-power, low-cost, battery-operated sensors over long distances.

Council and La Trobe University Bendigo have installed the infrastructure to enable the LoraWAN network to operate in Bendigo.

“It’s fantastic to see an innovative organisation like La Trobe University partnering with Coliban Water to use the free, community network in this way,” Mr Kerlin said.

“The collection of data via the network will help Coliban Water and the City of Greater Bendigo understand how and when the water station is used so we can track the positive health benefits for community members who choose water over sugary drinks.

“This is a great example of what it means to be a smart city by helping us to understand what is happening across our city and by improving the experience of our city for residents and visitors alike,” Mr Kerlin said.

Dr Simon Egerton, who heads the Technology Innovation Lab at La Trobe University Bendigo said he is very happy to see the first organic use of the network.

“This is exactly what we were hoping for and we are looking forward to seeing more initiatives like this in the future.”

The data being collected does not include personally-identifying information and is currently available online at www.meetpat.com.au with a view to it remaining publically available in future via Coliban Water and the City of Greater Bendigo.

Further smart water stations are being considered for installation across the Greater Bendigo and Coliban Water region.

Background – what is LoraWAN?

More information on LoraWAN technology can be found at https://www.meetpat.com.au/smart-cities-and-remote-monitoring/

Background – City of Greater Bendigo health initiatives

The installation of the new water station complements a range of other health initiatives carried out by council, including the installation of other new water fountains in the Lake Weeroona precinct and at North Bendigo Recreation Reserve.

It is also rolling out the Water in Sport program which aims to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks at 10 key recreational facilities. A recent community survey showed strong support for these projects, with 71 percent of respondents believing that the community needs to implement changes to reduce sugary drink consumption.

 

 

   

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