For many businesses, water quality monitoring is about more than safeguarding drinking water. Water monitoring programs are implemented for a wide variety of reasons—even for reasons unrelated to the quality of the water itself. And today, it’s easier than ever to find out whatever you need or want to know about your specific water-related application thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT).
So how are “smart” water quality monitoring systems using the IoT being applied? Below are some of the use cases we’re seeing most commonly.The path to smarter building management starts with measurement—data gathered via IoT sensors holds the key to your specific building’s transformation. Click To Tweet
Smart Water Quality Monitoring Systems Using The IoT: 4 Use Cases
Clearly, water quality is critical to crop production. Poor quality water in general can slow plant growth and negatively impact appearance. In addition, certain plants grow better when certain characteristics are present in irrigation water; the same is true for the converse—plant growth may be hindered by the presence of certain factors. For example, water with a too-high pH level (an indicator of acidity) could be detrimental to some plants, making it difficult for them to absorb nutrients from the soil; others are less affected by soil pH and are able to absorb higher levels of aluminum or magnesium in even very acidic water.
Another issue relates to salt tolerance. The nutrients plants use for development are absorbed as ionic salts; however, some plants tolerate high salinity while others will not. Irrigation water ranges in salinity; that salinity is usually measured as the electrical conductivity of water because dissolved salts in water conduct electricity. The higher the conductivity, the higher the salt concentration. Depending on the type of crop you’re trying to grow, a smart water quality monitoring system can help maintain the optimum conductivity level for maximum growth.
There’s significant economic value in monitoring water quality for the ag space. It can be an extremely useful tool for managing irrigation water, and help farmers maximize crop production.
2. Drinking Water
Many cities throughout the U.S. use water quality monitoring equipment continuously to evaluate the safety of their water supplies. (The recent water woes of Flint, Michigan, should serve as an important reminder to municipal governments that water quality cannot be overlooked.)
Drinking water is typically tested for the presence of bacteria, so it’s critical to examine the sterility of the water—can it support life? The oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) essentially measures the ability of water to break down contaminants; therefore, some municipalities use ORP sensors to measure the dissolved oxygen in water. High ORP levels indicate that the water is not capable of supporting bacteria, and so are useful in determining the overall quality of a particular water supply source.
Aquaculture, or the cultivation of aquatic plants and fish, requires high-quality water to promote production and increase profitability. Many facilities now use water quality monitoring equipment to measure water temperature and conductivity, two of the many factors that can affect the physical condition of aquatic animals.
Optimal water quality varies by species, so the parameters will vary across the industry. Water quality parameters commonly monitored among farming systems include temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, alkalinity, hardness, ammonia, and nitrites. And depending on the culture system, carbon dioxide, chlorides, and salinity may also be monitored.
4. Water Loss Detection
Just about every building has an invisible network of pipes that carries water throughout the facility. For the most part, it’s difficult to detect leaks in these pipes, and even when they’re found, it’s usually after much water has already been lost. Pipe leakage is responsible for a significant amount of water loss in both industrial/commercial facilities and public water systems, too. That’s important not just from a cost perspective, but also from a sustainability perspective—water conservation is both good for the environment and good for business.
Water flow sensors measure the flow of water through a pipe and its rate of change. Pulse meters are helpful in understanding the rate of normal flow, and therefore present a way to detect when the normal rate changes. In manufacturing facilities, flow sensors can be used to measure the volumetric flow rate of any liquid, gas, or steam. Changes in flow rate may be an indicator of pipe leakages or other operational malfunctions, giving building managers a chance to address problems before too much water (or any other liquid resource) is wasted.
Beyond Water Monitoring: A Commercial Building’s Holistic Approach To Resource Management & Sustainability
These days, a building is more than just a structure with a roof and walls. It’s an important part of a company’s operations and even its brand, impacting everything from the bottom line to the work environment to corporate reputation (via sustainability efforts). Facilities managers are facing increased demands on every front and, thanks to technology advancements, they have the unique opportunity to add value like never before.
The path to smarter building management starts with measurement—data gathered via IoT sensors holds the key to your specific building’s transformation. IoT sensors can capture a vast array of building data related to air quality, water quality, and energy efficiency, and help facilities managers glean deeper insights about operations and environmental conditions. The road to improvement is devised based on those insights, considered together with the goal(s) you want to achieve.
A holistic approach to smart building management encompasses measuring all facets of building performance as related to sustainability and resource management. In working with businesses and building managers in my role at Iota, I help them think through the processes performed inside the facility. We establish KPIs to measure & benchmark the building’s performance. We also catalog different metrics for each individual process, which are then aggregated to reveal the dynamics of how they play against one another. Looking at each step in relation to the whole process and cataloging metrics into a dashboard allows me to zero in on the details. It also helps build a mosaic that gives a complete picture of facility performance—and reveals your specific “recipe” for improvement.
Advance Your Operations With A Smart Water Quality Monitoring System Using the IoT
Whether you’re a municipality interested in monitoring your public water supply or a building owner interested in conserving water (and energy!), ask us about our water quality monitoring service.
Iota can provide you with the right water quality monitoring equipment for your needs. We’ll also help you determine what to measure, benchmark your performance, and customize your data dashboard so you get the best insights possible to achieve your goals. Get in touch today, and let’s get started.