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:
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.
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.
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.
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: