Water monitoring

water sensors: iot is the solution I

measurement for sewer efficiency

out flow surveys within their networks. A flow survey will indicate how the sewer is performing day-to-day, as well as how it copes with the added water from rainfall events. During any flow survey, water companies


will also record the amount of rainwater that is delivered into the sewer system. The recognised way of doing this is through the use of rain gauge. Tipping bucket rain gauges work by recording

the number of times the bucket tips when collecting rainwater. The tipping mechanisms have a specific capacity, which when multiplied by the number of tips, calculates the amount of rainfall during a specific event. When OnSite, one of the UK’s leading

waste water specialists, was looking to make their rain gauges more efficient, they required a data logger that has the ability to automatically upload the collected data to a central point. Not only would this save time, but it would also be more cost effective. To meet OnSite’s requirements HWM

proposed COMLog 2, an innovative logger that uses latest GPRS technology for low cost data transmission. COMLog 2 is compatible with any meter that uses pulse counting technology to take readings, making it perfect for OnSite’s specific requirements. Automatically uploading data to a central server has numerous benefits for OnSite and their customers. The data is available almost immediately,

meaning it can be utilised more quickly and more efficiently. It is also much more cost-effective as automatic data transfer reduces the requirement for regular site visits for manual data downloads. OnSite is satisfied with both the versatility and

reliability of COMLog 2, which has proved ideal for rainfall measurement applications.


o ensure sewer systems are operating effectively, and to reduce the risks of blockages, water companies often carry

nternet of Things (IoT) solutions are found in every single industry. Homeowners, for example, can use a range of internet-

connected devices to help them monitor their home, to have updates on gas or electricity usage, and plan accordingly. Water companies in the UK are catching up, with many now putting smart meters into customer homes, to help them better monitor their water usage. But could these utility companies do more? In

short, yes, they could, and they should. The technology exists, it just needs to be implemented into their systems. The technology to track leaks, identify pollutants, and monitor water treatment processes is available across many applications. However, many companies are slow to adopt this

new innovative technology. In the new report Sensors in the Water and Wastewater Treatment Industries 2020-2030, IDTechEx aims to give users a deep understanding of the market, where the sensors can be used, and a holistic overview of how sensors can be implemented in water and wastewater markets. It is possible with technology to better predict

how people use water and monitor its quality. This technology currently exists. For example, manufacturing industries such as semi-conductor manufacturing monitor water for trace metals. The same sensors can be in a water network pipe. Furthermore, these methods of sensor detection have been shown to work. Companies such as Suez have implemented smart water meters to track user's water consumption in some locations in France, providing them with a better understanding of how the users consume water, and more importantly, when. IDTechEx research predicts that in the water pipe network alone, the industry of sensors will grow to over $3.5bn by 2030. This area is a growing industry, and it is at the forefront of the Smart Cities and IoT technology areas.

What are the benefits of sensors in pipes?

Data brings understanding and understanding brings better management of a system. Collecting data on the flow in water pipes allows companies to quickly identify regions where there is an increase in demand, and as a result, lower pressure in the pipes. Utility companies can correlate their use age data with current events. They can then

answer questions such as: On average, how much water is used per day in a heatwave? Who uses the most water? What times of the day is the network strained?

Which sensors can be in Water netWork pipes?

There are many different properties and measurements recorded in a water supply or a wastewater network, including the following: pressure measurements (static, stagnation, head); flow levels (depth, pressure, velocity); flow meters (velocity); acoustic emission (leakage); temperature measurements; and chemical measurements (pH, trace metals and so on).

Who makes the sensors?

There are many players in the water and wastewater industries as the figure above shows.

When Will it happen? The need is, therefore, creating a smart water network, but it will only happen with investment. IDTechEx Research predicts there will be a change in regulation in five to 10 years. This change will push for smarter sensor-based networks. Moreover, the benefits of these systems will pay off any investment, providing a more efficient, safe, and monitored network.

What about coViD-19?

As an emerging technology, digitising and adding sensors to the water and wastewater networks may have both benefits and hindrances. Hindrance, as companies may not wish to spend large sums on new sensors, pipes, or technology, and the barriers for entry into the water and wastewater networks are already high. The benefit of adopting sensors into the

networks outweigh these barriers. There is a real need for remote monitoring. Monitoring removes the need for maintenance staff to check pipes as regularly, or to collect samples for lab monitoring. It speeds up the identification of pollution events reduces fines incurred by the water companies. It improves the efficiency of the treatment plants. It provides a better service for customers. A steep investment, but the dividends pay off for many years to come.

IDTechEx November 2020 Instrumentation Monthly

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