Water supply is a major problem across Indian cities and towns, and water tankers making rounds of apartments complexes has become a common sight. Keeping track of water consumption, wastage as well as overconsumption can help reduce cost as well as save water at the user end. Fortunately, Internet of things (IoT) is providing the much-needed solution for urban residents.
To help residents in apartments, companies are coming up with innovative solutions using smart meters and IoT to track water usage of individual houses, up to even 15 mins, and to avoid wastage. This also solves the basic problem of a common water bill averaged across all houses at apartments, irrespective of the usage. Apartments with low level ground water are mostly dependent on water tankers. Now, with the installation of smart meters, each resident is now able to follow a pay-by-use system by tracking the exact usage. Not only this, residents have become more aware of their usage and are consciously trying to reduce wastage. Users can also remotely manage the water connections and can shut off the valve in case of any leakage, using the app on their mobile.
Smart Water Metering, Source: SunMoksha
How is this metering done? Water meters are installed at each of the inlets in an apartment, and the totalizers are placed as near as possible. Data from these smart meters is sent to the controller/totalizer, which is then sent to the cloud for further actions. Access to the cloud data via apps enables users to switch on/off the valve. For uninterrupted performance, the meters have a backup power source that can also be solar based. However, the cost of solar based batteries is still quite high and suppliers should keep track of OpEx of the projects to make them viable in the long run. Other OpEx to keep in check could include cost related to communication between the controller and cloud storage, and continuous power supply to the controller.
The data from the smart meters is shared with the users through mobile apps. This helps users to see their supply and usage in comparison to others, and motivates them to control their usage. This collective effort is now paying off. The apartments that were dependent on water tankers during summer season, are now able to manage with the groundwater and/or municipal supply without having to pay additional for the tankers. IoT-based smart meters have brought in more transparency and has made the users more alert. Smart cities need smart citizens who are open to new technologies and ideas that help save precious resources.
Not just urban residents, even owners of other commercial spaces like resorts, malls, hospitals and so forth are adopting IoT-based solutions to keep track of their resource usage and to reduce costs. As the benefits of IoT become more evident, they are using IoT to remotely monitor both quality (like TDS, pH, turbidity), and quantity of water.