Monitoring Water Flow

Introduction

Experience in Housing for Health survey fix programs conducted by Healthabitat (HH) over the last 12 years have shown that housing and infrastructure are closely linked and the quality and performance of one affects parameters of the other. A strong measure of success of housing and infrastructure projects can be measured in the reduction in the consumption of resources and consequently a reduction in use of the resources. 

Experience has also shown that the success of the Housing For Health survey/fix program can be measured directly by measurement of total water consumption into the community during the survey/fix program.

Identifying poor environments

In many rural and regional communities, it is difficult to guarantee a reliable supply of water. Housing and infrastructure are closely linked and the quality and performance of one affects parameters of the other.

Managing Water Flow Gr4

Gr 5 Img 0073

Leaking tap with attempted repair using timber stake

Designing for better health

The project involved installing a simple data logging system to capture and record flow rated to the community before during and after the Housing for Health Survey Fix.

Managing Water Flow Gr1

The project aimed to reduce water use in the community and identify infrastructure leaks.

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The problem

An adequate supply of water is a key resource for ensuring good health and at least six Healthy Living Practices depend directly on a reliable supply of water. However, in many rural and regional communities, it is difficult to guarantee a reliable supply of water and strategies to reduce water use need to be incorporated in every aspect of community, house and yard design. In some communities, strategies will also be required to supply potable water to the kitchen.

Gr6 In Wall Breach Failure
Photo: In wall shower breach piece failure

Gr7 In Wall Plumbing ProbsPhoto: In wall plumbing problems 

Gr8 Img 0062Photo: Corroded tapseat

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The solution

Install a simple data logging system that will capture and record flow rated to the community before during and after the Housing for Health Survey Fix. Collect the data remotely by telemetry and assess the effectiveness of the Housing for Health survey fix program with the measurement of reduced water flow from leaks due to replacement of house hardware.

The project will provide real time responses to interventions in the field by survey fix teams and trades teams working on water fixtures in the houses. The data logging system can also identify infrastructure leaks that can be repaired through the Housing for Health project or future supplementary programs.

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Trial projects

Purpose built data logging equipment was installed adjacent to an existing water meter on the community water distribution system on Mer Island, Torres Strait, a scheduled Housing For Health site. The system included a compatible pulse reader, a battery powered data storage interface and a 3G wireless modem. Data was sent daily to a remote server located in Sydney and then on to a second remote server in Adelaide for analysis.

Managing Water Flow Gr1

Outcomes and Recommendations

The data system was recording from 03/03/2010 to 30/6/11. Recording intervals were set at 15 minutes to provide sufficient definition for flow analysis without overburdening the system with superfluous data.

The data system has been able to identify water delivery procedures showing daily periods when water is turned off, to conserve reserves of water and then the subsequent peak flows, recorded as appliances and fittings such as toilet cisterns refill after the water has been turned on again. The system identified baseline flows recorded overnight when normal use is usually low, which indicated leaks in the distribution system, house reticulation and house hardware. The system identified a clear trend of reduced water consumption over the duration of the Housing For Health Survey Fix program at Mer.

Over the period of this project, water management - by monitoring water flow - was used for infrastructure management, maintenance, and to identify when and where repairs were necessary.

Managing Water Flow Gr2

Managing Water Flow Gr3

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Where to next?

For information for architects, designers, students, communities, housing managers go to :

Healthabitat website 

Housing for Health the guide

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C1 Water

An adequate supply of water is a key resource for ensuring good health and at least six Healthy Living Practices depend directly on a reliable supply of water. However, in many rural and regional communities, it is difficult to guarantee a reliable supply of water and strategies to reduce water use need to be incorporated in every aspect of community, house and yard design. In some communities, strategies will also be required to supply potable water to the kitchen (see B4.1 Quality of drinking water). 

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Linking health and the house

Linking health and the house

Related Healthy Living Practices

Parts of the house and living environment impacted by this product

Parts of the house that are impacted