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Client story

Capgemini joins forces with Belgian water companies to create a fully integrated, smart metering platform

Client: Watersector
Region: Belgium
Industry: Public Sector

The landmark project is a huge leap forward in meeting sustainability, data-sharing and efficiency goals.

Problem statement

Sustainability continues to be at the top of the agenda in any organisation. In the water sector, this concern is combined with soaring levels of non-revenue water, supply infrastructure issues, drought and regulatory pressure for synergy. Belgian water companies had a complex set of problems on their hands and decided to join forces to define a collaborative, integrated solution, supported by Capgemini.

Capgemini had already been working independently with Flanders-based water suppliers, Farys, Pidpa and De Watergroep and were the preferred partner of Farys. This project brought the companies together under the brand name “Digitale Watermeter”. Capgemini acted as an end-to-end business partner in this collaboration, helping to define the hardware, data, software, testing and business processes needed to support this flagship transformation.


With extensive experience supporting utility companies, Capgemini was well placed to help define a solution that would combine proven technology with an innovative approach. By harnessing the existing smart electric meter network, they worked alongside electricity grid operators to build on this technology and adapt it to the specific use cases of the water industry, such as leak, backflow and water quality detection.

Developed in close partnership with SAP, Capgemini’s IT design combined cutting-edge solutions in an innovative and previously untested way. This resulted in a fully integrated, cloud-based, future-proof smart meter and energy management data platform, known as “The Smart Water Platform”.

A number of external partners were responsible for designing, manufacturing and installing the smart water meters to strict specifications. A DaaS (Data as a Service) supplier was also used to feed meter reading, consumption and water flow data to the platform.

Capgemini delivered the project in phases, first focusing on meter reading and volume monitoring functionality. The full rollout integrated IoT (Internet of Things) sensors triggering alerts and alarms for adverse water events.

By the end of 2022, 50,000 smart water meters were already live in Flanders under a pilot scheme. Over the next eight years, all 2.5 million households in this part of Belgium will be fitted with a smart water meter in a phased rollout, as agreed with the regulators.

Replacing the mechanical meters, providing the IT solution and performing the physical installation was a huge financial undertaking, but the collaborative approach meant that the hardware, installation and IT costs could be split three ways.

Success metrics and outcome:

The benefits of the project are far reaching and go well beyond cost efficiencies at an operational level.

For water companies:

  • Real-time monitoring and visibility of the overall water network
  • More efficient back-end processes due to automated meter-reading data
  • Ability to intervene quickly when adverse events occur
  • Inter-company collaboration, sharing ideas for future innovations
  • Bigger dataset for analytics from the combined data storage
  • Ability to split project and ongoing costs between companies
  • Ability to share data with research institutes and public entities

For consumers:

  • Meter readings captured automatically
  • Accurate billing based on real-time data
  • Ease of changeover when consumers move home
  • Near-real-time visibility of water usage to empower consumer responsibility
  • Alerts to notify of unusual usage

For the environment:

  • Reduced water waste due to early warnings of potential leaks and bursts
  • Reduced water consumption and increased consumer awareness
  • Reduced water pollution due to early alerts to issues

Lessons learned

The main challenges stemmed from the project using brand-new, untested technology and operating within a landmark collaboration between independent water companies.

The smart water meter devices were defined in conjunction with multiple water meter vendors. They needed to meet strict requirements (such as 16-year battery life to match current legal obligations), be fully integrated with the electricity meter network and installed by appropriately skilled personnel.

The IT platform used a combination of SAP solutions that had not previously been tested together. Capgemini and the water companies partnered closely with SAP, co-creating the solution using an iterative process and working on a “fail quickly, re-do it better” basis.

From a business perspective, a whole new set of processes and teams needed to be set up to support installing and managing the devices and handling the mass volumes of data. There were also new teams needed to operate across the three companies.

While piloting and prototyping were a major feature of the project, an even more agile approach would have ensured that shortcomings were flushed out earlier on and prevented business processes being aligned with sub-optimal solutions.

With three companies working together, effective communication between all the stakeholders was a challenge. Constant alignment between internal stakeholders was required to ensure a single, unified message would go out to external stakeholders.

This landmark project sees Belgium leading the way in a collaborative approach to water management, providing a future-proof, sustainable solution. Thanks to the wealth of data now being collected and shared, this approach will continue to fuel innovation in the sector well into the future.

“With the Smart Water Platform, everything is integrated. Our data is in one place. It unlocks intelligence, simplifies innovation, and lowers our total cost of ownership compared to our peers.”

Inge Opreel – CIO, FARYS

“The key to succes of this innovative program was the establishment of a strategic partnership between De Watergroep, Farys, and Pidpa as drinking water companies, Fluvius as electricity grid operator and technology partners  CapGemini and SAP.”

Bert De Winter, director of Innovation, De Watergroep

“A topic with so much social relevance deserves an eminent collaboration and state of the art technology platform, we could never achieve that aim without all the parties involved, a real “one and one equals three” case!”

Anke Geudens – Business process manager Pidpa

“This unique proposal allows the watercompanies to unburden their customers and is a result of the unparalleled collaboration with the many stakeholders involved. Guiding the inevitable change it has on the end-to-end processes, is a stimulating challenge.”

Alexandra De Jonge – Programmanager Digital watermeter-project