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Use Cases Water Quality and Leakage Monitoring

Water Quality and Leakage Monitoring

Smart Water Monitoring Platforms are ultra-low-power sensor nodes designed for use in rugged environments and deployment in hard-to-access locations. They detect damages in the water supply infrastructure and potential risks to public health or environmental damage in real-time.

Water leaks typically go undetected or are responded to only after the event. Therefore, a significant amount of water is lost due to excessive irrigation (only 70% of water supplied is consumed by agriculture).

The demand for innovative solutions to enable more efficient use of available water resources, to improve drinking water quality, and improve water resource planning is growing. Due to this, some analysts estimate the global water sector to be worth 1 trillion USD per year by 2025.

IoT enables a precise control over water resources data, thus allowing an efficient and optimized management of water companies. Smart water management systems can make a fast and significant improvement to the cost and reliability of water supplies, especially in urban areas and in agriculture.

According to various reports as a result of water leakages, pressure or network operations inefficiencies and expensive maintenance, water utilities around the world are collectively losing over $9.5 billion every year and spending $2.5 billion to detect and repair leaks. Of this loss, most of it is attributed to wasted operational expenditures on water production, followed by energy pumping costs and chemical costs of lost water. Adopting smart water management solutions could save utility companies between $7.1 billion and $12.5 billion each year.

There are various applications for smart water management such as water leakage detection, watering management through sensors, drinking water quality monitoring, quality control of pools and water reserves, etc. At present, water companies have numerous sensors and devices which are able to provide input for detailed reports about relevant business critical factors – including water temperature, water quality/composition, water pressure, water flow, etc. However, most water companies still lack advanced real-time reporting and prediction capabilities to monitor “changing” factors. As a consequence, there is a focus on real-time data extraction, reporting, visualization.

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Mobile – Based Solution To Integrate Disparate IoT Devices
Mobile – Based Solution To Integrate Disparate IoT Devices
The quality of water is assessed against several parameters (around16+) using numerous sensors placed at the respective locations. The information generated by the sensors is in a form incomprehensible to humans (in bits and bytes). The staff that monitor water quality had to visit the location physically to check the parameters. This consumed a lot of time. One person is responsible for monitoring water quality at multiple locations. Most of the times, all the parameters will be within their thresholds. Only when the parameters go out of thresholds, the responsible person need to act upon it. So, ideally, an application should monitor water parameters at fixed intervals and give appropriate alarms to the responsible person, only when some parameters need attention. There were multiple types of instruments and different versions of the same type of instrument placed at several locations to check the quality of water. All these devices generated a huge quantity of data. The customer required an application that integrated all their IoT devices and provided reports, analytics and insights from a central depository.
IoT Solutions for Smart City‎ | Internet of Things Case Study
IoT Solutions for Smart City‎ | Internet of Things Case Study
There were several challenges faced: It is challenging to build an appliance that can withstand a wide range of voltage fluctuations from as low at 90v to as high as 320v. Since the device would be installed in remote locations, its resilience was of paramount importance. The device would have to deal with poor network coverage and have the ability to store and re-transmit data if networks were not available, which is often the case in rural India. The device could store up to 30 days of data.
IT security for critical infrastructure with versiondog
IT security for critical infrastructure with versiondog
Flood prevention and sewerage are highly mechanised and automated services that utilise the latest high-performance computerised controllers and IT networks. For a growing number of public water authorities, the versiondog data management system from AUVESY has significantly improved the process of keeping track of the associated data. Although the primary purpose of versiondog is usually to provide change and data management, it is also helping German water authorities fulfil the requirements of the country's IT Security Act 2015, especially with regard to ICS systems.

The water quality monitoring market is expected to be valued at USD 4.69 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 4.54% between 2016 and 2025.

Source: marketsandmarkets

What is the business value of this IoT use case and how is it measured?
Your Answer

Extra revenues through cost savings – water management costs can be significantly reduced by real-time monitoring of all operations (including leaks, pressure sensors and IoT software analytics), consequently resulting in optimized asset utilization, improved operational processes, energy costs savings, minimized human intervention, lower maintenance costs and lower infrastructure costs. Water issues varying depending on the region. Eg: some regions receive more rainfall than others, meaning less need for water sprinklers, etc. However, one of the biggest costs associated with water companies is the cost of moving water, which is huge. By being able to reduce usage and thus reducing mobilization, revenues are prone to grow. With the use of an intelligent IoT network, the relevant information can be extracted and visualized, resulting in companies being able to incentivize the customer to use water at no peak times when the costs are lower.

Productivity increase: IoT allows real-time control for smarter business decisions, reduced operating costs, optimized processes and resources and service time reduction. It also expands existing business models and generates new, more profitable and sustainable ones. The use of an IoT network extends into the field through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS)  solutions and remote working tools.

Increased efficiency – water management companies and associations can use real-time operational control to make smarter business decisions and reduce operating costs.

Improved operational process control and monitoring; optimized and transparent asset utilization – smart meters, sensors and connectivity significantly improve tracking of all assets, providing real-time visibility into the supply chain; they can be used for remote monitoring of drinking water, fresh water, stormwater and wastewater process control and for assets monitoring like pumps, pipeline pressure, flow, and water quality in the distribution and collection system, or for predicting when and where these assets need timely maintenance or replacement.

Optimized and transparent asset utilization – by using sensors and connectivity, water companies significantly improve tracking of all their assets, gaining real-time visibility into their supply chains.

Real-time knowledge of water usage statistics and analytics for smarter and faster decisions – IoT analytics can eliminate data irregularities related to meters errors or registration problems, theft, or can provide a real-time view on unbilled water statistics or any relevant statistic needed in the decision making process.

Minimal maintenance costs while improving safety and reliability of network operations– Plant maintenance studies claim that 30% of preventive maintenance activities are carried out too frequently, and 45% of these efforts are ineffective and may lead to asset failure caused by unnecessary works. A predictive maintenance system, which uses sensor data, can eliminate breakdowns by up to 70%, reduce downtime by up to 50%, and reduce scheduled repairs by up to 12% (acc to IBM research). Being able to easily locate all assets, to do real-time monitoring and to control and run preventive maintenance on critical pieces of infrastructure and machinery, water companies significantly reduce maintenance costs and minimize response time in the case of leakages or other waterworks events.

Who is involved in purchasing decisions, and who are the primary system users?
Your Answer

Water companies – we already see some innovative water companies struggling to find pragmatic solutions to traditional and emerging threats to water resources and infrastructure

Water Corporation Australia – since part of Western Australia is one of the most impacted by climate change, with yearly reductions rainfall, they have a long-term plan to secure water supplies in response to climate change, named Water Forever. The program has three pillars, which includes working with the community to reduce water use, increasing the amount of water recycled and developing new water sources.

South East Water – Aquarevo is a water-efficient residential development; the solution includes an app that enable owners to track and monitor all energy and water usage in near real time on a single interface; they’ve also designed an intelligent pressure sewer system that takes wastewater to a treatment plant on the estate, treats it to Class A standard, and returns it to homes for irrigation and toilets.

Anglian Water – Since The UK’s water industry significantly relies on an ageing water infrastructure, with the added pressure of a rising population, growing water scarcity and complex regulations. Anglian Water uses various IoT solutions for Integrated Remote Intelligence, Integrated Leakage and Pressure Management System, smart meters for both residential and commercial properties to improve customer satisfaction, ensure zero water bursts or leaks, and reduce water consumption to 80 litres per head, per day.

Smart meter providers –some of them also offer software services or E2E solutions, that include sensors, data collection, network management, and analytics solutions.

Leak detection software vendors – they provide solutions that automate detection of network events like leaks, bursts, pressure spikes, and supply interruptions.

IoT/software companies – offering a horizontal IoT business model, focusing on general smart utilities IoT solutions

Telecom operators – all focus on smart cities and smart water management solutions.

Telefónica estimates that a proper water management strategy can save cities as much as 20% of the cost. These saving alone, ease the investment required to install sensors and modify water management and supply systems.

Deutsche Telekom Nb-IoT network is already rolling across several European countries and several solutions are currently being tested in their Nb-IoT Prototyping hub in the smart water management domain

AT&T is currently working with IBM and other partners, trialing out solutions that uses sensors and sounds to detect water pressure, temperature and leaks, bringing all sources of data together for complete view of past, present and future performance; it also provides smart irrigation solutions for agriculture, using IoT sensors and data about weather, soil, shade, plant types or moisture levels

Vodafone is offering Nb-IoT solutions for smart metering, optimized for route consumption and low energy

What business, integration, or regulatory challenges could impact deployment?
Your Answer

There still are ongoing challenges within the IoT Ecosystem related to security, customer education, IoT monetisation, interoperability, etc. However, IoT already proved to have the power to revolutionise the water industry and create sustainable solutions for global water supply.

IoTONE official
Adaptive Wireless Solutions
Erik Walenza-Slabe
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