Is Our Greatest Natural Resource Relying on IoT to Save It?
Water is the most vital resource we have. It is a basic need for every living thing on the planet. However, wasting water is a huge challenge that the world is facing. For decades, experts have been devising ways to conserve our water supply. Now they have the help of technology. Intelligent water management has now become a viable option to preserve this resource, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is making it possible.
IoT Offers New Solutions for an Old Problem
The IoT offers new solutions for enhancing water management. According to an IBM article, comprehensive water management strategies, including the use of IoT devices, can reduce water costs by up to 20%.
IoT Is Enhancing Infrastructure
One way in which IoT is helping evolve water management is by giving old infrastructure new life. Most of the world’s water systems are aging, with mains, pumps, and reservoirs all being impacted. The final pipework that enters an actual home or building has not been something the utility companies had insight into, but IoT sensors are changing this.
IoT Alerts to Problems
IoT sensors can monitor what is happening with water supply. They can detect leaks, which means utilities are notified sooner and can rectify the situation before an extreme amount of water is lost. Prior to a leak, certain sensors could actually help with proactive maintenance by looking at certain data points that might suggest a leak is inevitable. Then the work can be done prior to a leak every occurring.
Sensors lead to a more universal water management program. IoT devices can even monitor the water quality and alert to any possible contamination.
Consumption Transparency—Smart Meters
Clarity around consumption is also possible with IoT devices, as they can tally what is used, by whom, and when. These smart water meters help consumers understand what they use and can help them downsize their consumption to be more conservative, especially in areas where droughts are the norm.
Smart meters are not widely available yet from utilities, but these IoT devices are expected to become standard in the next few years. Thus far, San Francisco has implemented the largest smart water meter program with more than 98% of the city’s water accounts having them.
IoT and Landscaping Water Usage
In addition to water used for plumbing purposes, water is also necessary for landscaping and irrigation. Much of the water used in these situations is wasted in the form of runoff or evaporation. Landscape irrigation systems that use sophisticated data analytics can help make watering more purposeful with sensor to detect moisture, heat, type of soil, and exposure to sunlight at different times of the day. By putting this data to use, landscape and irrigation watering can be optimized.
The power of IoT is having and will continue to have an effect on water systems. By using the tools that IoT provides, the way we think about water conservation is changing. From utility companies using it to detect leaks and maintenance needs to using collected data to transform water usage, the IoT is one of the most impressive innovations in modern water conservation.
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