In the era of global digitalization, water scarcity, and poor water quality remain pressing issues in many regions of the world. These problems, combined with the need to wisely use existing water resources, are prompting the development and implementation of smart water management solutions.
In 2022, the smart water management market size was around $15.6 billion. With a projected CAGR of 11.5% from 2023 to 2032, this figure is expected to exceed $45 billion by 2032.
In this article, we’d like to explain the peculiarities of such solutions and their role in the modern world.
What are smart water management systems?
The concept of water management presupposes the implementation of a complex of measures for controlling water quality and organizing the efficient use of water resources. A smart water management system is based on the combination of IoT, AI, and big data technologies that help achieve the set goals by gathering and processing real-time data related to water distribution.
A smart water management system is typically built to cover such processes and activities as developing, planning, and monitoring the use of water resources in various sectors, including manufacturing, farming, agriculture, urban infrastructure, etc.
Thanks to such solutions, farmers, businesses, and utility operators have the possibility to measure, evaluate, and track not only the way water is distributed but also the water quality. As a result, such monitoring can also help to timely detect water pollution and address tech issues that can lead to water waste.
How does a water management system work?
Smart water management has become possible to a greater extent thanks to progress in the IoT (Internet of Things) sphere. Water monitoring is performed with the help of multiple sensors and microcontrollers, including but not limited to flow, ultrasonic, salinity, temperature, conductivity, pressure, humidity, and luminosity sensors. These devices should be installed on pumps and pipes for measuring various parameters that can provide valuable insights into water quality, water distribution, water pollution, and other important aspects.
For example, by getting the most relevant information about water levels and flow, authorities can be able to efficiently react to any dangerous changes detected.
All the data gathered by sensors and any message alerts generated by them are further transmitted to a cloud server over the Internet. On the server, the data should be processed and analyzed. Today, quite often developers apply AI tools that can detect patterns in the accumulated data, define any deviations from the norm, as well as make accurate predictions. After that, the processed data becomes available to employees of the relevant authorities or companies.
Smart water management benefits
Using IoT in water management brings a wide range of advantages and new opportunities.
- Real-time water consumption analysis. Sensors can capture precise data and send it to the user’s dashboard. This information can be used to detect patterns in water consumption and to analyze water use in separate regions.
- Remote monitoring. With the help of IoT solutions, water authorities can execute high-quality monitoring and make the best use of their human resources.
- Predictive maintenance. Failures in the water supply chain or technical problems like pipe breaks can lead to financial losses and other serious consequences. But smart water systems can track factors that indicate the technical state of the equipment. If there is a deviation in patterns, relevant authorities and organizations will receive a notification and be able to address the problem in a timely way.
- Feasibility of using water resources. Thanks to smart water management systems, it is possible to track when and how water is used and control its consumption. This point is especially relevant in farming, where smart irrigation tools are widely applied.
Types of IoT-powered water management solutions
Achievements in the tech sphere allow developers to deliver smart water systems of different kinds and different levels of complexity. It’s challenging to enumerate all the existing types of such systems, but let’s focus at least on the most commonly applied ones.
Smart water metering solutions
Smart water meters help measure water usage in real-time and send this information from consumers to providers. Such solutions not only facilitate water management but also increase the accuracy of billing.
River water quality monitoring
These tools are intended for tracking water quality, especially in those rivers that serve as sources of drinking water. Smart sensors usually measure water’s temperature, turbidity, and portability.
Smart dam monitoring
Such systems are used to observe the water level in all sections of a dam. If the system detects any deviations from the norm, an alert will be automatically sent to the authorities.
Smart irrigation systems
These solutions are typically used in agriculture and can be a separate element of smart farming systems. Thanks to smart irrigation, farmers can optimize how they use water resources and avoid overuse. Sensors can estimate the soil moisture level and adjust the schedule of watering based on the results. Moreover, water quality can be also an important factor for the outcomes of farming activities and its monitoring will play a crucial role in overall productivity increase.
Smart water leak detectors
Very often, water losses caused by fittings issues and pipe leakage stay unnoticed for quite a long time. This results in further damage to pipes and interruptions in the water supply. Thanks to IoT sensors, any issues of this kind can be detected in a timely way, which helps eliminate the possibility of more serious consequences.
Smart water resource control solutions
City administrators have to control water supply, equipment, and consumption. Technologies such as IoT can increase the visibility and transparency of the water supply chain. IoT sensors make it possible to get access to real-time data and advanced analytics, which can become a solid foundation for critical decisions.
Challenges in implementing smart water management
Creating a smart water system can help optimize water consumption and address the problem of water scarcity in many regions. Nevertheless, there are complicating factors.
- Lack of standardization. There are no globally accepted standards used by developers of IoT systems for water management, which leads to issues with the compatibility and integration of tools offered by different vendors.
- Problems with interoperability. This challenge is related to the previous one. IoT devices that can be used for building a single smart water system may be designed by different companies, meaning that it won’t always be possible to make them seamlessly interact with each other.
- Limited network reach. When smart devices are installed in locations with a poor signal, such as basements, the system may not be able to ensure data exchange in real time.
- High installation costs. This is a serious challenge in some regions, especially in developing countries where infrastructure development costs are disproportionately high.
Have an idea for a smart water management solution?
Our IoT development team is always open to new projects and is ready to help you.
The future of smart water management
IoT is a core technology for building water management systems. This technology allows developers to automate processes in the water supply chain and collect relevant and valuable data in real-time. But to maximize the effectiveness of IoT for water management, it’s sensible to use it in combination with other advanced technologies like AI and ML.
Role of AI and ML in smart water management
Thanks to AI and ML algorithms, such systems are able to analyze data from different sources to detect patterns and find areas of water waste or deteriorating water quality. AI-driven tools can help identify risks and prevent water leaks, a very important point for addressing water scarcity. Such systems can constantly monitor water flow and pressure and identify signs of a breakdown.
A smart water management system enriched with AI tools can also eliminate human error and increase the accuracy and reliability of water billing.
Water management solutions in smart cities
Smart water management solutions often become part of wider smart-city projects and are applied to monitoring water quality, irrigating city parks and green zones, controlling billing systems, and tracking the state of good repair in water equipment.
These uses help to achieve a higher level of transparency in water management, reduce incidents, strengthen control over water resources, optimize city budget allocations, and enhance sustainability. With such weighty benefits, we can assume that investment in IoT-powered water management projects will gradually grow in the future.
Cogniteq’s experience in building IoT water management solutions
The portfolio of our team includes a lot of innovative IoT systems that today are being used by companies and organizations in various business domains. We’ll mention a couple of IoT solutions intended for automating water management.
The first is a flower pot equipped with IoT sensors. This smart pot allows users not only to create a schedule for automated watering but also to ensure optimal conditions for plants. The IoT sensors can monitor soil moisture, water storage level, lighting, and critical air quality factors. Our team was responsible for all the tasks related to realizing this project, including hardware development. We built custom water-level and soil-moisture sensors, as well as circuit boards used to collect the data received from sensors and send it to the cloud.
The second example is a smart system we created for soil moisture monitoring. This system is one of the applications of IoT in agriculture developed specifically for dry regions. IoT sensors help create a moisture map of the chosen areas and can send signals to the irrigation system, enriched with docking stations.
Thanks to continuous monitoring of soil moisture, water is delivered only when required. As a result, it’s possible to optimize the use of water resources while ensuring even and efficient irrigation.
Smart solutions in managing water resources are gradually moving from the category of innovations to the category of industry standards. IoT has already proven its efficiency in water management. And developers who work with this technology have the important task of finding the most sophisticated and feasible ways of using these solutions in real life.
Thanks to our expertise in delivering high-quality IoT development services to companies in various industries, we can cope even with the most challenging tasks. That’s why, if you have ideas for a smart water monitoring and management system, don’t hesitate to contact us and get free estimates.
What is smart water management, and why is it important?
Smart water management involves using modern technologies to collect, share, and analyze data from water networks and equipment. All these efforts are aimed at increasing the sustainability, efficiency, security, and reliability of water systems.
How does smart water management technology work?
A typical smart water system is powered by a collection of sensors and controllers intended to be mounted on pumps or pipes. These elements can constantly track important factors such as water temperature, flow, and level, as well as the quality of water resources.
What are some examples of smart water management systems?
There are various use cases for IoT-powered water management. Some examples are smart irrigation systems installed in city parks and farms, systems for controlling the quality of drinking water, and solutions built for controlling the water level in rivers.