According to the United Nations, over 1.2 billion people live in areas facing a clean water crisis. The organization expects that number to rise to over five billion by 2050. The need to solve the ongoing water crisis is dire if we are to ensure the survival of billions of people. To this end, we are seeing innovative solutions that can help with this crisis, a notable one being the Internet of Things.
Available IoT Smart Water Technologies
Water companies and their engineers have built numerous smart water management IoT solutions. These solutions are meant to improve the use and management of our water resources. The result is a boost in the efficiency of water distribution in developed countries and improved water access in developing nations.
Currently, sensors, data analysis, and data-sharing tools are the main technologies being used. IoT sensors detect and measure many things in residential and commercial settings. These can include leaks, temperature, water quality, chemical impurities that make the water unusable, pressure, usage, and water saturation in the soil.
These sensors can be connected to better help water utilities manage and monitor their water supplies and systems. A small IoT chip case study even showed they could help make more usable water available for manufacturing, industrial, agricultural, and residential uses.
These chips would be of little utility if they did not enable companies to collect and analyse the right type of data. All the data they collect needs to be analysed, which has seen the increasing use of data analysis and sharing used when coming up with solutions to the global water crisis.
Integrating data from multiple sources and sensors and using sophisticated algorithms will help utilities manage this scarce resource better in the future. One way they will do this is by detecting and helping prevent water waste at an individual level while also allowing companies to remotely monitor water consumption levels and supply water according to perceived and predicted needs.
How IoT Can Help With the Water Crisis
Knowing its potential and how we could use it, let’s now look at some practical ways IoT will help with the water crisis.
One of the first options companies and water suppliers consider when there is a dwindling supply is finding new water sources as available inventories drop. In the past, companies have invested heavily in trying to find new water sources. As new sources become scarcer, these companies have to start focusing on improving yield, especially during delivery. The importance of doing this becomes apparent when you consider that about 16% of all water is lost during delivery.
IoT can help companies know where this loss is occurring so they can sort it out and improve their yield. The capital cost of doing this might be high, but the savings from reducing waste and improving yield will offset it.
At an individual level, homeowners can stop in-home leaks using devices that detect them. For example, some devices will shut off the water supply to reduce wastage when they detect a leak.
Enhanced Conservation Efforts
Lowering the demand for water by encouraging conversation also helps ensure enough water for everyone. IoT can make conservation campaigns more effective and successful by assisting people in seeing where they are wasting water, tracking progress, and automating ways of conserving it.
Having the data to show where people are wasting water gives individuals better insight into how they compare to their neighbours, which can, in turn, help them be more conscious of conserving this precious resource.
Automating Water Use
Agricultural and municipal use are the two biggest consumers of water, which means we can see significant savings if we automate water usage in both sectors. Agribusinesses will typically overwater instead of risking drought, as that leads to losses.
IoT sensors can align irrigation and water conditions to current weather and plant conditions to ensure better water utilisation. Soil moisture, humidity, slope, and soil moisture are just some of the measurements that can enable them to do this.
Systems that automate water use in corporate campuses, golf courses, and urban parks can also be instrumental in helping with the global water crisis.
Water is crucial for life, so we should all make an effort to make the best use of it while ensuring that as many people as possible have access to clean water. By reducing consumption and wastage using IoT devices and data, we can see areas of wastage and which are most affected, so we can act accordingly.