How The Internet of Things Helps in Water Management

By Subodh / February 12, 2016

Water supply and management has been a constant source of headache for city administrations and municipal entities all over the world. Woes related to water supply have plagued cities and suburbs since ages. Climate changes, growth of consumer base and changes in consumption patterns can lead to shortages and problems. Mostly the water is sourced from rivers and lakes. Then, the water is sent through various treatment stations and reservoirs to individual houses through a network of pipes. There are several factors that can cause troubles in existing water supply and management system.

Using Technology To Resolve Water Supply And Management

With global warming and resultant climate pattern changes affecting monsoon and water supply sources across the world, technology is beingseen as the savior by many. Technology such as IoT can be used to enhance water conserving and distribution- says the experts. Deployment of advanced sensors and analytics, it may be possible in the near future to tweak water conservation and supply to match fluctuating natural patterns and demand of users. This will also help prevent unnecessary wastage of water.

How IoT Helps Conserve Water And Utilize Resources

1. Irrigation

Use low-profile sprinklers to save water. Better yet, tear up the lawn, replace it with drought-tolerant plants and water using drip irrigation systems.

Use low-profile sprinklers to save water. Better yet, tear up the lawn, replace it with drought-tolerant plants and water using drip irrigation systems.

In any region, a lot of water resources from natural sources like rivers are used for irrigation. In most cases, a section of water used for agricultural irrigation gets wasted. If the wastage can be prevented or even reduced that can be used for other needs. Deployment of IoT solutions involving sensor to track rainfall, topography, humidity and sunlight can be helpful in this regard. This, coupled with analytics and sophisticated weather prediction will help farmers make better use of the supplied water. This will also lead to better crop management and cultivation prospects in the long run.

2. Urban Water Supply

Urban Water Supply

Water supply in urban areas remains a messy topic! Existing municipal irrigation systems are not useful in detecting water wastage. However, when these are equipped with sensors the wastage can be largely controlled. The water supply to parks and such areas can be better managed with this technology. The sensors can analyze soil condition and climate, including humidity. This can be used to control water supply when the soil is wet-like in the monsoon months. The saved water can be supplied to the households as per need.

3. Leakage Control

Leakage Control

In a number of major cities in the USA, a lot of water gets wasted owing to leakage in pipe networks. These are mostly in the underground networks that carry drinking water to homes. While periodical maintenance and repair does help things, it is not enough to reduce water leakage. Ageing pipe network replacement is feasible, but it makes more sense to deploy IoT In detecting leaks fast and reduce wastage of water. Pipes fitted with advanced sensors can be used to track water pressure and leakage quickly. Based on water usage throughout the year, water pressure can also be controlled to save water. It also leads to reduced energy consumption in the long run.

4. Using Storm Water

rainfall

Rainwater harvesting is already being practiced in many countries across the world and the benefits are obvious. But deploying IoT can help administrations make even better use of naturally obtained water. By using sensors that can anticipate the humidity level in the air and the presence of clouds, it may be possible to collect and save storm water. This water can be saved and used for irrigation purposes if not for drinking. It can be helpful in times of drought when the source of natural water like the river is already under crisis. When authorities get alerts of possible rainfall, they can be better prepared to conserve the water.

5. Home Usage

Home-Usage

While home water meters are already in use, using smart meters with IoT support can also help families in urban areas make better use of supplied water. These meters equipped with smart sensors can be used to control water flow as per usage need and detect any leakage. When entire residents in a city start using such advanced water meters- it will surely lead to a significant saving in water. The same thing can be said about commercial setups like restaurants, malls and similar areas.

The Challenges

While deploying IoT will surely help manage water usage and stop wastage in urban scenario- there are hurdles that need to be overcome. It will take some time before the governments can agree on using similar technology and devices across a state or country that can be leveraged to get the benefits. Using the technology for agricultural purposes should be done first -say the experts. Before such technology can be used ona large scale in urban setups, the security provisions should be in place too. However, in near future such technology can be used to make the world a better place for the coming generations.