Water is a scarce natural resource, and due to increasing urbanization and climate change, there is a need to have a smart water quality monitoring system in place. Water gets polluted at various point and nonpoint sources, to identify these sources we need to have a smart system that uses modern technologies like WSN (wireless sensor network), power of the cloud, integration with IoT (Internet of Things), and Big Data Analytics to get Real-time data of Water Quality so, that we get better data and control over the water quality.
How does the Smart Water Quality Monitoring system work?
The power of Cloud, IoT, and Big Data Analytics, empowers electronic hardware based embedded systems to get real time data and monitoring insights over water quality.
Water quality sensors, as mentioned below, embedded with a controller unit, also known as a sensor node, sends their data to IoT Gateway or Edge gateway, which is an IoT Device embedded with the microcontroller, using WSN (Wireless Sensor Network) protocol.
This data is then sent to a cloud server through the Internet. This Semi-Structured data is stored on the cloud server and trained on Machine Learning algorithms to produce real time information on water quality.
Actuator control systems are also connected through the cloud server, which reacts to the threshold value set by the user. Like whenever any water quality parameter (TDS, pH, temperature) changes in comparison to the threshold value. The set response like SMS, SOS, and control action will be triggered and an alert will be sent to the user interface or associated application.
The information on the cloud can be analyzed and visualized on the user interface, which can be an IoT dashboard or a Mobile Application. Users can also carry out controlling actions based on the processed cloud server data.
Data Analysis on weekly/monthly/yearly stored data provides insights to get a good understanding of past data, which will enable better decision-making and planning of water resources for the future.
Sensors used in Water Quality Monitoring
Sensors are the eyes of the IoT based Water monitoring system. They are used to sense the Physical and Chemical properties of water. Various sensors used in Water Quality monitoring system are listed below: –
These are devices used to measure or control the flow rate of liquid and gases within pipes or conduits. They are widely used in systems where controlled flow is required and where any leakage or pressure drop is to be detected in the piped water supply.
It measures the Acidity / Basicity of water on a scale of 0 to 14. The ideal pH for drinking water should range between 6.5 to 8.5. pH controls microbial activity, fungal growth, and corrosion in piped systems.
TDS (Total dissolved solids):
Technically speaking, it is the amount of total dissolved minerals, metals, and salts dissolved in water. Measured in mg/L. It is the prime measure of drinking water quality.
It measures the ionic concentration of metals and non-metals in an aqueous water solution. TDS and Conductivity sensors are most important for water quality monitoring in the agriculture sector for irrigation purposes.
It is an optical characteristic of water, which measures the relative clarity of the water. It is the measure of the amount of light that is scattered by materials in water. Useful in the River cleaning system and waste-water recycling.
Water quality and activity change as the temperature changes. Hot water can dissolve more organic matter than cold water.
water treatment plant adds chlorine to the water to kill possible microorganisms. At times their concentration increases/decreases in drinking water, which causes various health issues in humans. Also, chlorine is a reducing agent which can deteriorate water pipelines.
Many times, we experience clean water but it doesn’t smell good. So, odor sensors may be helpful in the quality control of water.
The need of Water Quality Monitoring
Water Body Pollution
According to the Government of India, MoDW&S, data about 10.06 crore population living in 12,577 habitations in different states and union territories are getting drinking water with excess fluoride. Ingestion of excess fluoride can cause fluorosis which affects the teeth and bones. Similarly, a report from UNDP states that 80% of wastewater goes into waterways without adequate treatment, like Ganga. Due to this not only Drinking water but the River ecosystem also gets affected. Chlorine residual sensors, Conductivity sensors, and TOC (Total Organic Carbon) sensors embedded with IoT hardware and software are the saviour in such a scenario.
Piped Water Supply
Increasing urbanization puts pressure on scarce water resources and supplying piped water to every household requires a network of cast iron pipes. The water supply network consists of long water pipelines which are prone to leakage, due to various joints, which if go undetected, lead to water loss. Smart IoT-based sensors like flow controllers can be used to effectively monitor such leakages on a real-time basis.
Chemical and HVAC industries
These industries are one of the major sources of water pollution. Governments around the world have strict water discharge guidelines and are mandated to have ETP (Effluent Treatment Plant). Water high in chlorine, saline, and fluoride impurities causes fouling, and corrosion and puts pressure on the industry’s equipment. So to increase efficiency and save energy, a smart IoT-based waste-water monitoring system with big data analytics will give better insights.
IoT has huge potential to revolutionise the Agriculture sector, one such example can be a smart irrigation system, which will control and monitor water quality.
Water used by farmers for irrigation purposes, calculated as the percentage of total water usage, is high. Most of this water is polluted and prone to overuse. Farmers over-irrigate their lands. If they use the IoT-based sensors listed above, they will be able to control and monitor water quality effectively.
Traditionally used water quality monitoring methods are manual, which is prone to human error. Also, it is cost intensive because it requires a large number of point sources for sample collection, and training costs of individuals, and obviously, data quality issues are there since data collected is not on a regular basis and it is not stored on a real-time basis. This produces a need for Smart water quality monitoring system.
We at PsiBorg, an IoT product development company, use state-of-the-art technology integration that provides complete IoT solutions for water quality monitoring issues, on a case to case basis.