The Internet of Water

Cascajo Sastre María    9 June, 2016

Internet of Things is growing at a faster pace than ever before. Its size is expected to quadruple over the next four years. The place where most of this growth is taking place is within Smart Cities.

We have already covered in detail three core services that improve the wellbeing of citizens in Smart Cities. After talking about Smart ParkingSmart Lighting and Smart Waste Management, we will cover the last of the four key areas Smart Cities are addressing through the use of IoT solutions: Smart Water.

Industrialization and infrastructure improvements in Western Countries, made water so accessible it turned into a cheap commodity. The sharp demographic pressure increased water dependence making prices soar, at an astonishing speed surpassing the cost increase of other resources. This situation has turned the water bill into one of the biggest bills for city halls. Any successful effort to cut water expenses will have a huge impact on the city’s economy.

The other factor that weighs in is the growing global water stress. With nearly 70% of the world’s population living in cities, half of the population is expected to live in water-stressed areas by 2025. The IoT allows for a precise control over water resources data, thus allowing an efficient and optimized management.

Irrigation water for public parks is one of the biggest demands in modern cities. 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.

There are many applications of Smart Water management in Smart Cities:

  • Water leakage detection throughout the city waterworks (the improvement that adds most value)
  • Watering management through sensors and programming devices
  • Potable water monitoring
  • Quality control of pools and water reserves (from city fountains to swimming pools)
  • River Flooding / Sea Level control where applicable

As we explained in the Whitepaper on the digital transformation of cities [IN SPANISH], local authorities must establish clear criteria on how to save water and energy. This will ensure that city gardening is sustainable, thanks to smart irrigation systems, networks of sensors and weather stations. Centralizing this management achieves various improvements:

  • Acquire real time knowledge on consumption of water for gardening purposes and adapt to changing weather conditions (e.g. not water if it rains)
  • Adapt watering to that state and type of the vegetation
  • Minimize response time in the case of leakages or other waterworks events
  • Facilitate the use of low energy, low consumption equipment

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