Water authorities rolling out wireless smart meters!

The industry spin spruiking the benefits of smart meters has now seduced Australian water utilities.

Coliban Water, a regional Victorian water authority with a service area encompassing 49 towns, has bravely commenced on a six-year rollout of wireless smart meters to all residential and non-residential customers.

Coliban Water’s Summer 2017- 2018  Customer Update leaflet and Digital Meters webpage coyly refer to the new equipment, which is to be installed on existing water meters, as ‘digital’ meters.  There is no mention of the fact that radiofrequencies – and more specifically, microwaves – will be used as the means of transmitting data from these ‘digital’ meters to network gateways, and from there on to telecommunication towers.

Only those customers keen enough to click on its ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ will be alerted to the technology underpinning the rollout.  Naturally, the public is assured that the digital meters do not pose a health risk to customers or the community as the battery-powered meters transmit data every hour through low level radiofrequency waves, which “are well within Australian safety standards”.

Sadly, the Frequently Asked Questions webpage does not also inform customers that Australia’s radiofrequency standard is not fit for purpose.  Or that 24/7 hourly radiofrequency transmissions impact, not only humans, but also the environment.  The rollout of smart meters and gateways, which is reported to be using LoRaWAN network architecture operating in the same crowded spectrum as Australia’s mesh electricity smart meters, will add another ubiquitous layer of electro-pollution.

It appears that the public is to be stung again by an essential service provider.  Whilst Coliban Water states that it is installing the digital meters because it is “always looking for innovative ways to identify cost savings and network efficiencies for our customers”, it remains to be seen how many customers might welcome the possibility of Time of Use tariffs; these have been flagged in Coliban Water’s Pricing Submission 2018  to the Essential Services Commission as being a vehicle to “empower customers”.  Time of Use tariffs have been a resounding failure with Victorian electricity customers.

Other Australian water service providers are also keen to go down the wireless smart meter path.  Western Downs Regional Council, in Queensland, received funding to replace its water meters with smart meters.  Cairns Regional Council announced in June 2017 a $15.9 million project to install smart water meters.  Melbourne water utilities City West Water, South East Water, and Yarra Valley Water are reported to have undertaken in-field ‘digital’ water metering trials.

Members of the public have until Friday, 9th March to give feedback on Coliban Water’s 2018 price proposal.  If you think the costs and benefits of Coliban Water’s ‘digital’ meter deployment don’t stack up, this is your opportunity to have a say.  As an alternative to using Engage Victoria’s form for making your submission, the Essential Services Commission has confirmed that comment can be emailed to water@esc.vic.gov.au until Monday 12th March 2018.

A sign to print out and put beside your water meter is available here.

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15 Responses to Water authorities rolling out wireless smart meters!

  1. Nai says:

    Have recently had a wireless water meter installed at our home without even telling us. Is there a way we can object to this or do we need to get a bore and totally disconnect from town water?

  2. Barbara says:

    My local paper (Midland Express) has a notice on page 13 saying that the Essential Services Commission has released its draft decision on the prices Coliban Water proposes to charge. The Commission says that they want to hear what we think. The notice also says there’s a public forum on Thursday, 26 April, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the La Trobe Art Institute, 121 View St, Bendigo. I can’t go (too far from where I live for going to at night) but maybe other people can go? They need to be told that we don’t want smart meters or time of use pricing!!!

  3. Deb says:

    Yikes …Central Highlands Water in Victoria has also done a trial of smart meters. (But they call them ‘digital’ meters …how deceptive!!)

  4. Let's get real about RF says:

    I read that Kalgoorlie-Boulder did a two-year pilot of smart water meters. The article says that the chiefs of the WA Water Corporation told the State Parliament that they would NEVER see a return on their investment. How dumb is that. Another case of spending more to save less.

  5. wordsbyjax19 says:


    The nbn juggernaut is rolling out, Mussolini-style, in my area. Are there EMF implications for the hardware they want to fix to one of my outside walls?

    I’ve told them I don’t want it and they tell me I can defer it, but I have no choice in the end.

    Am interested in any info you have on this subject.




    • Cathy says:

      I haven’t heard of problems with the nbn hardware for fixed line customers. But I’ve heard of lots of problems with the modem/router provided by internet service providers to go with the nbn equipment. Sometimes the WiFi and DECT can’t be turned off, or can only be turned off with great difficulty. There’s going to be a lot of people unknowingly frying themselves.

  6. Mac says:

    Smart gas meters currently being installed Geelong region. Got mine 2 weeks ago and in the process of constructing a faraday cage for it.

  7. Sophie Meneguzzi says:

    Smart meters are a HEALTH HAZARD and need to be stopped. What is wrong with the clock over the litres, water meters, why the craze on Dangerous WiWfi, at great cost to the taxpayers ( which is everybody) Let us get on with clean everything and restore health to this planet and its global community.

  8. Lynn Taylor says:

    Is NSW going to install water smart meters?

    • Kay says:

      Yes they have begun already. They are on our poles where I live. I thought it was 5G until I called and was told it is a wireless water monitoring system. Havent been able to sleep in the front room since.

  9. Chris says:

    time to build a cage for my water meter as well it seems….will it ever end.
    I must say I do wonder how they will get electrical power to the water meter…surely it wont be battery operated. So every water meter will be “electrified”…thus every tap in every household could potentially become electrified if something goes wrong with these meters. I see people dying from touching a tap here or am I the only one

  10. d says:

    There are also ‘smart’ metres for gas.

  11. Jenelle says:

    NSW? Only a matter of time I suppose…

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