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The importance of IoT water monitoring.

Recently, one of the biggest challenges facing humanity is ensuring a sufficient supply of quality water. From food production to habitat restoration, drinking water to sanitation, clean water is the most sought after asset of the human population.

The explosion of our population in recent years has put unprecedented pressure on this crucial asset. Sufficient, high quality water is critical for human, animal, vegetal and economic life, and monitoring water is the first step to managing it.

How is water monitored?

We monitor water sources to identify its physical, chemical and biological properties. Water monitoring is carried out for a number of reasons - environmental compliance, resource allocation and trend identification just to name a few.

The three main strategies for collecting data are manual sampling and lab analysis, automated sampling and continuous monitoring. Manual sampling has a low capital cost and can have highly accurate results, however takes a lot of time from collection to outcome. Automated sampling collects samples and notifies the operator when to pick up the samples for testing. This process allows for easy collection over a long period of time, however can be very expensive and have time delays from collection to outcome. Unlike manual or automatic sampling methods, continuous remote monitoring provides an early warning system to identify potential issues. When continuous sensing detects an issue, field staff can be alerted immediately. Continuous monitoring provides real-time indications of water quantity/quality and avoids the costs of manual sampling.

Continuous water monitoring usually requires IoT software to transmit the data collected to the intended users. More than an upgrade, cloud-based IoT systems offer advanced new options in the design of water monitoring solutions., Their endless, unique benefits can enhance the data collection, identification and analysis of water trends for the physical, chemical and biological properties of water. Configured intelligently, they provide an upgrade to existing monitoring solutions. They are not only more cost-effective, but are also more responsive, scalable and time sensitive.

Wastewater monitoring

Wastewater testing and monitoring is very important to ensure it is safely collected and treated. City and regional councils have infrastructure in place to monitor wastewater. Untreated wastewater can be harmful to our health and our environment. IoT water sensors can assist in this process as traditional equipment, although highly accurate, does not provide real-time data. IoT sensors are also being used to monitor stormwater networks in a similar way.

'Water in the Cloud'

Surface water is a resource that creates value for both landowners and the users. A conflict between stakeholders has arisen trying to allocate water usage between irrigation and ecosystems. In the past, this has been done with compromise and limiting extraction to preserve the natural environment. Now, using a combination of IoT sensors, the maximum value gained from a fixed resource can be achieved. With careful, continuous monitoring, not only are we making agriculture more productive, but we are also managing to protect aquatic ecosystems.

The fundamental areas to monitor include;

- Height of the water

- Temperature of the water

- Flows

- Breeding cycles of aquatic life

- Trends in fish numbers

Using accurate, real-time data, scientists can closely study the productivity of both irrigation and natural ecosystems to create added benefits to both. Cloud-based IoT systems create an active management program that allows administrators to detect the needs of ecosystems for flow in real time, and respond to these needs dynamically (restricting extraction or releasing waters) increases health without reducing availability of flows for irrigation over an annual time scale.

IoT water sensors are not used to replace existing testing technology, but instead to compliment them and make the process more efficient. For example, a flood warning water level sensor can be used to notify you when water levels are high, rapidly changing or any other important testing conditions are met.

Tussock Innovation have designed and developed a range of IoT water level sensors for use in flood warning, environmental monitoring and water management under the name Waterwatch. Used by governments, conservationists and households throughout Australasia, the Waterwatch brand is proving to be the gold standard in water level monitoring. An accurate, cost-effective and fully remote solution for use in a variety of situations.

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© 2018 by Tussock Innovation

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