Water- What to do about it

by Shu-Yu Liu

Water is an indispensable resource for human beings; therefore, water management is particularly essential as people continue to build smart cities.

IoT in water management

Internet of Things (IoT) in water management integrates various monitoring data and the advantages of data-driven indicators as well as sensors collecting information from the environment. In this way, there can be a cloud-based dynamic service system to optimize the regulations in water supply and demand. When it comes to data set for the IoT system, there are three sources where the data are collected including flood sensor, stream gauging station, and reservoir information. The flood sensor is installed in a lower terrain according to the density of population and their activities. It senses the water level using ultrasonic waves and transmits the readings in real time.

Display of information from the flood sensor
Display of information from the stream gauging station

The IoT systems displays information about reservoirs across Taiwan, including basic information such as when they were built, which basin they belong to, and the water storage capacity that everyone cares about most. Viewers can check when the reservoir has been short of water by date.

The biggest challenge of setting up the system is to process the huge amount of data, which dates back to 40 to 50 years ago. To process the huge amount of data with efficiency, a water resource IoT platform was first built using Azure Stack, an open-architecture cloud environment where the public can access open information from the government. The goal is to provide a platform as a service (PaaS) with database and file and cloud computing. After analyzing, the ones that qualify as open data will go to the cloud, while those deemed confidential will not be uploaded.

Data collected from Tsengwen Reservoir

Taichung’s Water Box sensors monitoring water quality and report real-time data

The Environmental Protection Bureau of Taichung City Government worked together with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2020 to implement the Taiwan Smart Water Networking Project. By the end of September, 2020, Water Box, online sensors designed to monitor water quality 24-7, have been installed across the city in 11 waters where fish kills happen often and the downstream 19 waters with high water pollution potentials.

The Water Box system is integrated with satellite positioning and artificial intelligence (AI) to send back data every minute to be integrated with the data in the IoT data center at the EPA. This helps display real-time information on the water quality in areas with potential for pollution and prevents companies to illegally discharge wastewater into the waters. When there is any abnormal reading from the water quality detected, an e-mail will be sent to notify an inspector to take action, thus shortening the response time. Water Box proves to be a success in the investigation of discharged waste water and the monitoring of water quality.

Water Box sensor