Smart Water Management

Smart water management aims to provide sustainable, affordable, resilient, and efficient water supply systems. The implementation and adoption of a robust management model using smart devices would conduct an efficient sustainable water sector.

Current Scenario/Problems

Despite being the only carbon-negative country in the world, Bhutan does not have sufficient safe drinking water. Thimphu, the capital city, which covers an approximate area of 26 square km with a population of about 114,551 (Population and Housing Census of Bhutan, 2017) is no exception. Therefore, the implementation of the Smart Water Management System will address the following issues and provide their solutions.

Some of the issues are as follows:

  1. Water wastage caused by leakage, consumer carelessness, and overflow
  2. Uneven and inefficient water distribution management
  3. Water contamination
  4. Inefficient water billing practices
  5. Lengthy troubleshooting time
  6. Frost formation in pipes
  7. Water theft

While there are many reasons for the acute shortage of water in the city.  Some of the main reasons seem to be a result of the lack of a long-term drinking water supply master plan, population growth and unprecedented development, poor water supply infrastructure to meet growing demand, financial inadequacy, limited operations, and maintenance due to the absence of technology and technical capacity, as well as intermittent water supply with high systems loss.

Additionally, poor water management systems, limited infrastructures, and low maintenance have caused leakages that make up for about 30% of water being wasted. There is also no proper billing system in place for the water consumption of each end user.

Solutions

Smart Water Management System aims to solve the problems of the current water supply system through the exploitation of water on the basis of sufficiency, efficiency, and sustainability. However, this must be done using innovative data and communication including proper controlling and monitoring of technologies. As a result, the developed water system will be able to improve the current infrastructure, monitoring and maintenance period, irregular water supply, and the water billing system which currently has substantial deviation to the real consumption.

The smart water system will use an instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent system to improve the convention system.

  • Instrumented: The ability to detect, sense, measure, and record data.
  • Interconnected: The ability to communicate and interact with operators and managers.
  • Intelligent: The ability to analyze the situation, enable responses, and optimize troubleshooting solutions.

Numerous sensors will be deployed in the system to detect the quantity, flow, pressure, and quality of water at various stages of the water grid. The real time data/information collected by these sensors will then be sent to the control center for analysis and monitoring. Wireless communication will also be employed to communicate information to the server and to bring commands from the server to these sensors. Additionally,  Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) will be implemented to process the information and remotely operate and optimize systems and processes.

Advantages of the Smart Water System

The smart water system will provide real time information that helps users/managers make systematic and informed decisions. The automated system will lower working time as well as reduce human resources required. However, the main advantages of smart water management systems are understanding of the water system, detection of leakages, water conservation, and monitoring the water quality. The system also enables us to build a complete database for the identification of the areas where the loss of water or illegal water connections frequently occur. The system also allows customers to analyze their water consumption pattern which can aid in reducing water usage and building an effective and sustainable water management model. Therefore, the solutions to the problems stated above that the system offers are as follows:

Water Wastage

  • Leakage detection system
  • GIS integration for locating the leakage point

Lengthy Troubleshooting Time

  • Fault management system
  • Work scheduling system

Water Contamination

  • Disease outbreak alert system
  • Measurement of contamination parameters such as TDS and PH level

Uneven Water Billing Practices

  • A modular sensing device for easy installation and commissioning and for billing individual consumers

Frost Formation in the Pipes

  • Alert system for taking precaution

Water Theft

  • Theft detection system

Inefficient Water Distribution Management

  • SCADA system to visualize real time data of water distribution systems with control functions.
  • Water quota system monitoring on real time basis
  • Develop prediction model for water availability for awareness and for infrastructure development using weather forecast algorithm and historical data
  • Water availability status for overall water supply and for individual consumers
  • Develop prediction model for water availability for awareness and for infrastructure development using weather forecast algorithm and historical data

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