The City of Guelph, Ontario has a dilemma. It's growing fast, but its water supply isn't. Guelph is the largest Canadian municipality that depends only on ground water. So, when there's a drought or another period of high demand, it's much more difficult to draw more water from the ground.
Last summer, the Water Services team at the City of Guelph and the Civic Accelerator chose a company to support their water conservation efforts. They chose Alert Labs. And now, Alert Labs is providing residents with water usage data down to the minute and sending alerts about high water use, leaks and floods.
The Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor are included in the City’s Flowie Water Sensor Rebate program. Guelph residents receive a $50 instant rebate on easy to install water sensors for their homes or businesses.
Mathew Newman, a Water Services Technician with the City of Guelph, is an expert in working with homeowners and businesses to investigate high water use issues. During the initial testing period with Alert Labs, Mathew and his team strapped a Flowie water sensor onto the water meters at the Sleeman Centre and the West End Recreational Centre.
At the Sleeman Centre, during Guelph Storm games, it was easy to monitor water use during intermissions, ice making initiatives, and post-game activities. “The Sleeman Centre is a fairly busy arena at times, so we really wanted to get a sense of water demand. It gives us a lot of opportunities to show where we can save water and make the systems a bit more efficient,” said Mathew.
Over at the West End Recreation Centre, Mathew had the same experience. “We were able to determine when exactly is our peak demand, when exactly Zambonis are filled, swimming pools being filled, and showers being used. We try collectively to find ways to improve efficiency and get a better diagnostic of what is being used.”
Water Services was contacted by a local restaurant about their water bill – a dramatic increase that the owners couldn’t explain. Mathew and this team strapped an Alert Labs Flowie water sensor on to the restaurant’s municipal water meter. The impact was almost immediate. “It was clear as soon as we strapped it on that water was running constantly 24 /7, all throughout the night and all throughout the day.” The minute by minute water data suggested a very large hidden water leak.
Further investigation led to the discovery of a broken valve on a noisy ice machine. The water was literally running into the ice machine and then straight down the drain. After fixing the problem, the restaurant saved $630 per month in water costs. For Mathew, “It highlighted the ability of the Flowie to diagnosis problems that are out there and really help us hone in on significant water savings.”
For homeowners that spend time at work, the cottage or on vacation, they have peace of mind that Flowie and Floodie are keeping an eye on their home. “You can strap a Flowie on and literally go anywhere in the world and monitor the water use at home, here in Guelph.”
Mathew said that 95 per cent of the time high water issues in homes are caused by a toilet or a water softener. Water costs can add up, especially if problems are left unattended, “It really only takes one incident like a toilet flapper sticking or a water softener malfunctioning for the Flowie to pay for itself.”
Visit alertlabs.com/guelph and enter discount code GUELPHSAVESWATER50 at checkout to take advantage of the Flowie Water Sensor Kit Rebate Program.
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In an interview on The Agenda, Blair Feltmate of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (ICCA) dropped a number of bombshells about the flooding we've experienced in Canada and the major water damage to come: