Table of Content
It is true that water is the world’s most valuable commodity. In many western countries, water is so accessible that people do not even think about its cost.
However, 50% of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas by 2030, and that is mostly because of rapid urbanization and poor water conservation practices.
That also means water will directly impact economies, and as manufacturers, it is vital for you to build smart systems that help mitigate such crises and operational problems in the future. That is where the Internet of Things (IoT) can make a huge difference.
Introduction to IoT’s contribution to clean drinking water
IoT is on its way to make an impact on how water is managed and consumed worldwide. By using smart sensors to collect data about water quality, usage patterns and disease threats, OEMs can build better connected devices that help cities ensure their citizens always have access to clean drinking water.
You see, we live in an era where the number of linked devices is growing consistently. An estimated 41.6 billion IoT devices are expected to be connected by 2025.
Coming across terms like low-cost computing, the Cloud, Big Data, and mobile analytics is the norm. IoT ultimately aims to combine the digital and physical worlds to create a smarter, more responsive world and it makes use of a myriad of technologies to achieve that.
Physical devices linked to the internet share and acquire data in real-time with minimal human intervention. IoT has the caliber to deliver clean and safe drinking water by monitoring water quality, temperature, and contamination levels.
What are the current challenges in providing clean drinking water?
Water delivery systems face problems due to urbanization, population expansion, and demographic shifts. UNICEF reports over two billion people reside in countries where water supply is insufficient. This situation is expected to get worse with time. Here are the current challenges in providing clean drinking water:
1. Climate change
Rapidly changing weather conditions, such as frequent hurricanes, floods, extreme heat, and drought can lead to decreased water sources. Unfortunately, handling nature disasters is not in anyone’s control.
2. Water contamination
One of the biggest threats nowadays is water pollution, as drinking water is becoming increasingly contaminated and polluted with increasing commercial activities.
Early detection of water contamination enables appropriate action to be taken and the avoidance of dangerous circumstances. Moreover, real-time monitoring of the water quality is necessary to ensure its supply in the purest form possible.
3. Faulty demand and supply
Population expansion leads to scarcity of sufficient water supply, which will only become a bigger problem in the future. On the other side, the struggle for limited water utilities will result in higher water bills for those who utilize it.
4. Unethical procurement methods
In many areas, such as pumping groundwater or rivers, there are no specific management plans or sanctions on water extraction. This causes uncontrolled extraction and poor water quality.
5. Infrequent system maintenance
Irregular quality checks of the water supply management systems might have serious consequences, such as leaks, pipe damage, and undetected toxicity levels.
6. Poor water management systems
Water supply systems are under a lot of pressure to keep up with the continued growth in urban populations. If they are not immediately inspected, they may require expensive repairs down the road, not to mention greater overhead costs.
Several supply systems require the distribution of water based on historical availability or current consumer demand. The allocation may not always be appropriate, despite the traditional knowledge. In reality, some supply systems can become too congested.
The end point? As sensors, internet connectivity and IoT technology as a whole advance, manufacturing smart solutions for making clean drinking water becomes critical.
How IoT can improve access to clean drinking water
Governments, businesses, and regular consumers can achieve efficiency and sustainability goals through water management using IoT.
If manufacturers create devices that link all the systems and participants in the water supply chain through IoT, that can help improve access to drinking water considerably.
Sensors can be deployed from water sources to treatment facilities, industrial water management systems, distribution facilities, utility companies, and clean energy providers. The data equip decision-makers with crucial information on the water condition. IoT helps with:
1. Improved water source management
By integrating smart sensors and meters, OEMs offer businesses a way to control water flow. Because the primary functions of such gadgets is to gather information about water flow and produce analytical water performance reports, they can address the world’s concern about the scarcity of clean drinking water.
2. Enhanced water treatment
OEMs can build sensors that can measure physical parameters such as pH, turbidity, and chlorine levels in the water. IoT helps detect the presence of contaminants, monitor water quality, and functioning of pressure levels. They also control valves for precise flow management and even predict potential breakdowns.
3. Improved distribution systems
The entire water supply chain, from freshwater reservoirs to wastewater collection and recycling, is made more transparent and under better control with smart water technology.
IoT significantly contributes to preserving our limited resources by enabling smart water treatment procedures and improved water production, distribution, and consumption control.
4. Enhanced disaster response
IoT-powered intelligent water management systems provide real-time data and automated alerts that can be used to rapidly detect and respond to leaks, floods, or other water-related disasters.
In addition, contaminants can be detected by IoT sensors to provide the necessary information for cities to take preventive measures in order to avoid water damage.
5. Increased efficiency and cost-savings
Significant savings are finally realized by capitalizing on the data generated by IoT-enabled water systems. Automation assists in efficient human resource use, data-driven planning, and proactive equipment maintenance and resource management.
The long-term reduction of operational expenses is one of the factors driving water corporations to investigate the use of IoT in water management. Furthermore, it can help reduce overall water consumption and lower utility bills.
Examples of IoT applications in clean drinking water
The integration of IoT technologies can enhance innovation and sustainability in the design of a water management system. The examples provided below illustrate various ways in which IoT technology can be applied, and we explain how it can be utilized to improve decision-making, track patterns, and create notifications.
1. IoT sensors and devices that monitor water quality
IoT-based systems for managing water quality can handle problems with effectiveness. Water samples must be collected and examined manually in the absence of IoT, which involves high cost of experts and equipment.
IoT sensors, on the other hand, may measure a wide range of variables, including temperature and turbidity. Operators can remotely undertake quality control on water reserves and compare data from various samples. Sensors can gauge:
- pH (Acidity)
- Dissolved Oxygen (DO)
- Conductivity or resistivity
- Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP)
IoT-enabled sensors can also be used to monitor the performance of pumps, reservoirs, and other major water management assets, providing real-time data to water utility operators. This can help identify and address issues more quickly, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.
2. IoT-powered water treatment plants
IoT establishes a network of physical things and enables extensive remote monitoring by using various sensors as endpoints. Network in an IoT-powered water treatment plant enables relevant authorities to monitor and control various operations in the water treatment facility.
They can track the composition of water and set up Equipment Asset Management (EAM) and Computerized Maintenance Management (CMM) systems with the aid of IoT implementation.
IoT Based Smart Water Quality Monitoring & Control Solution
3. IoT-powered water distribution systems
The components of a smart water distribution network include:
- Consumer points with flow meters
- Water storage points with water quality and level sensors and pumps
- Distribution lines with pressure/flow sensors and electrically operated valves
Its key advantages are:
- The water distribution network with electrically actuated valves (butterfly valves), which regulates the flow of water to homes area- and street-wise, is the foundation of the smart water network.
- System controls the pump speed (Variable Frequency Drive) and keeps track of all the electrical aspects of the pump. It receives inputs from various control valves located at each distribution level.
- The ground-level storage stations’ ability to store water will be monitored by the water-level sensors.
- The system locates leaks based on pressure data and notifies appropriate authorities of the precise location of the leak so that water is conserved. It also assists the relevant authorities in dispatching laborers to the proper location of the leak on time.
4. IoT-powered water conservation systems
IoT guarantees better water resource management and conservation. For example, reservoirs and overhanging water tanks can have sensors and apparatus to keep track of the water level.
IoT-powered water conservation systems can be linked to the cloud. When the water level drops below a specific limit, an alert is sent in real-time to optimize water consumption.
Benefits of using IoT to clean drinking water
If OEMs build smart water monitoring and management systems based on IoT sensors, they can give water and sanitation utility operators effective means and real-time data to measure, monitor and control water distribution networks. Here are the benefits of using IoT to preserve the valuable natural resource:
1. Environmental sustainability
Technology for smart water usage is no longer just considered a way to save money and increase efficiency. Instead, it is seen as a way to achieve other environmental goals, such as a smaller carbon footprint, less pollution, and water conservation.
2. Consumption monitoring
IoT-based water management systems can be used to monitor water consumption, which helps optimize and manage the use of water resources at all levels - from households, to communities, to countries, and globally.
3. Improved water quality
Several sensors can be installed along rivers and underground aquifers to detect toxins and other pollutants. The data gathered is then sent to a central system for being analyzed to determine the severity of potential contamination.
4. Increased efficiency
Water may be collected, treated, distributed, and recycled with the help of smart water systems. IoT facilitates maintenance forecasts while detecting breakage and leakage. It minimizes equipment downtime by monitoring the pressure, flow, moisture, and temperature.
5. Leakage control
Smart water management devices equipped with leak and moisture sensors can be utilized to implement leakage control, which is vital for protecting both water resources and budgets.
With an estimated $3 billion spent annually on repairing damage caused by leaks, it is crucial to have a system in place that can detect and prevent leaks early on.
Water utilities can reduce the cost of labor and materials by using IoT technology. Water distribution networks might be monitored in real-time, informing a system operator when maintenance or repair is required, avoiding costly shut-downs. Furthermore, IoT applications identify non-compliance to standards due to malfunctioning equipment.
Smart Farming: How 5G Powers Digitization Of Agriculture
Over to you
There is no doubt that IoT provides opportunities for more sustainable practices, such as water conservation through efficient irrigation and energy management.
For example, sensors can detect the soil moisture content, enabling farmers to provide crops with just the right amount of water without wasting resources.
Smart meters can be installed in households to monitor electricity usage and regulate it accordingly, helping people conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprint.
By using the technology, one can also gain real-time insights into water usage patterns and make data-driven decisions to improve water efficiency and reduce waste.
This can have a significant impact on the sustainability of water resources and help preserve this precious resource for generations to come. So are you looking to create cutting-edge water management software that businesses will find helpful?
At IntuThings, our experienced team specifically works with OEMs like yours to build systems that stand the test of time. Let us collaborate to accelerate the launch of your project. Reach out to us to learn more!