Applying IoT To Monitor Rainwater Harvesting Systems

We see IoT applied to many and varied application areas which were previously unthought of. One application is monitoring rainwater harvesting systems to measure their operation and performance. We recently undertook a project to implement this solution for a corporate client and the results were amazing.

The brief was multi-facetted, including remotely monitoring the tank’s health so they can determine if it’s operating correctly, and proactively identify maintenance tasks so they can be undertaken when they were actually required – rather than prematurely or late. In addition the client wanted detailed reporting to indicate how much water is consumed from the tank for the purpose of advertising sustainability to their customers i.e. to be able to say “we use tank water”. Finally, they needed to calculate the ROI of the rainwater harvesting system to prove to stakeholders it was a viable commercial asset.

We used a variety of sensors for the solution. It included a water level sensor, pressure sensors and electric power consumption sensors (CTs). Our analytics platform was able to determine when a filter was dirty and required replacement. Water pressure was measured to flag issues for further investigation. The system was able to extend the life of the UV sanitation lamp by switching it off when there is no water consumed. Alarms were raised through SMS and emails when any faults or maintenance requirements were detected. This included leaks, failed or sluggish pump, constantly running pump, dirty filters and soot and silt build-up on the floor of the tank. By monitoring multiple parameters, we were able to reduce the maintenance of the system by eliminating a lot of “check this and check that” tasks, as we had all the data to perform these checks remotely.

The reductions in maintenance were significant. In addition, the visibility the client now has into the health of their rainwater harvesting systems and the confidence they have gained, were also significant.

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