South East Water’s continuous flow leak detection initiative, made possible through its digital utility program, has taken out the Customer Experience Award at the Australian Water Awards. 

The award was announced at the Australian Water Association’s Ozwater’23 conference, held in Sydney on 10–12 May. The groundbreaking leak detection program uses digital meter data, and by measuring continuous flow (defined as 120 L per day over a 24-hour period) can detect leaks in real time. This means customers’ first indications of a leak are communicated clearly and promptly rather than making their presence known in the form of an unexpectedly large water bill.   

General Manager Digital Utility, Andrew Forster-Knight said the program is a crucial component of the organisation’s goals to deliver clean water sustainably, with a focus on providing ongoing and measurable value for customers. 

“To be able to harness new technology to deliver benefits for customers and the environment is incredibly rewarding. By simultaneously conserving our most precious resource and offering a seamless, proactive leak detection service to the community, we can improve customer experience and help ensure water security."  
“Being recognised for these achievements by the Australian Water Association is positive reinforcement for finding new ways to deliver value and protect our precious water, but our true reward is the satisfaction and relief our customers feel when they are empowered to avoid excessive bills due to continuous water flow.”
South East Water General Manager, Digital Utility - Andrew Forster-Knight

Since the 2018 introduction of the program, South East Water customers have collectively saved 720 million litres of drinking water and $3 million. That’s a typical saving of $100 off the customer’s next bill. 

OzWater’23 has been an eventful time for South East Water. The organisation’s steadfast commitment to improving customer experience and delivering sustainably has been a key theme in presentations and panel discussions. 

Several members of South East Water’s team have presented on topics such as water recycling, microplastics in water and the use of stormwater as a water resource. Alana Jones, Customer R&D Project Manager, has been nominated as a finalist for the Best Paper and Presentation Award for ‘Customer water usage: Attitudes and behaviour change at South East Water’.

Image: South East Water General Manager Digital Utility, Andrew Forster-Knight (centre) and South East Water Managing Director, Lara Olsen (second from left) celebrate the win with the team.

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