A planet that has just 3% fresh water
World water scarcity has been steadily increasing and now, the world is staring at a parched future. With almost two-thirds of the world filled with water, why are we looking at such a dark future? That’s because just 3% of the world’s water is freshwater, and it’s shared by humans, animals and industries.
Growing demand, combined with the effects of climate change, is fueling a crisis. According to WHO, drought can replace upto 700 million people by 2030. Disruption to water-intensive sectors including food, clothing and cars can also fuel a crisis. So, what are we doing about it? Well, looks like the Internet of Things (IoT) – networks of physical sensors and software exchanging data – may hold the key to better water management.
Sensors have come a long way since we invented them way back in 1950, albeit as a burglar alarm. As per reports, sensors in water management is going to be a business worth $2 bn, by 2030. We can use water sensors to ensure that freshwater losses are minimal. We can also them to forecast any leaks and plug them on time. In Europe, 26% of treated drinking water is lost before it reaches the tap. In developing nations, it can be worse, up to a staggering 70%. Reasons include old pipe lines, environmental and weather factors like excessive rainfall and flooding. Outdated technology is also another reason.
The fact is that pipelines cover vast areas, sometimes hundreds of kilometers under the soil. Due to this, leaks are undetected for very long periods of time. The end result is loss of enormous amounts of fresh water. The ultimate cost: human lives and money, up to a huge $14 bn per annum. Sensors end up being useful for remote monitoring of underground facilities as well as in the farming and meat rearing industry.
Remote monitoring systems are becoming very effective as far as water management is concerned. Sensors relay real time information about water quality as well as equipment malfunctions. Uninterrupted water supply is the biggest advantage of this. Apart from that, it also avoids wastage due to equipment issues. Add to it, it also monitors parameters like pH, conductivity, oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), toroidal conductivity, flow rate and vibration. There by, these sensors ensure that the drinking water supplied is of good quality. Smart water management is a great advantage to multiple sectors like agriculture, farming, industry, services, utility services etc.
Hence monitoring water supply and detecting and controlling real time leakages in pipelines, track pressure variations along pipes and check water quality in fish farms, swimming pools or aquariums can make a great difference to the world of water management. A few other advantages of going smart with water management is the ability of these system to manage pressure and consumption, predict potential failures, reduce overall average consumption and cutting down on maintenance costs. Overall, IoT water management points to a great smart way to live in a world, where good quality drinking water is becoming a precious commodity.