The UK is currently experiencing a heatwave – London, for example, has had the longest stretch of hot weather in almost 60 years. With an increase in temperature, there is an increase in demand for tap water. One area which is affected is the South West Water network, with water shortages across Sussex and up to 300 households left without tap water for five days.
But could this have been averted? Yes – it could.
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 network strained?
Which sensors can be in water network pipes?
There are many different properties and measurements recorded in a water supply or a waste-water network, including the following:
− Pressure Measurements (static, stagnation, head)
− Flow levels (depth, pressure, velocity)
− Flow meters (velocity)
− Acoustic emission (leakage)
− Temperature measurements
− Chemical measurements (Ph, trace metals e.t.c)
Who makes the sensors?
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 5-10 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 waste-water networks may have both benefit and hindrance. 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 waste-water…