Water Conveyance & Its Relationship to Aging Infrastructure
- Julie Bushell
According to the Brookings Institute, the U.S. water system is considered among the safest and most reliable globally and is paramount to the nation’s economy. It also comprises an intricate system of networks that safely delivers water to millions of people. Approximately 2.2 million miles of underground pipe operate in the United States water system.
Currently, the networks are under increasing stress. Add aging equipment, inefficient operations, and a growing population to this complex infrastructure, and it becomes easier to understand how 30%-50% of water resources are lost through water conveyance.
Given these challenges, state and local governments, district water utilities, and others recognize an urgent need to invest in infrastructure improvements — including replacing aging pipes and implementing advanced technology, such as sensors and other innovative equipment.
The Importance of Efficient & Reliable Water Conveyance
As water flows, it makes its destination by traveling through a collection of independent systems, whether to farms for irrigation, residential irrigation, or municipalities for consumption. The effectiveness of storage and conveyance facilities is imperative — for time, cost savings, conservation, and safety.
A failure in the distribution system significantly affects our communities, business, and local economy. As populations continue to increase, the demand for water increases. For example, the city of Meridian is the fastest-growing city in the state of Idaho. As a suburb of Boise, it is anticipating a 98% population increase over the next three decades. This reality is causing the local water district and government officials to place greater attention on the state of the water infrastructure.
Looking Beyond Pipes for Effective Water Conveyance
While improving infrastructure is necessary, other changes need to be implemented to address the demand for water and the amount lost through water conveyance. Another considered tool is technology. As more water districts and utilities update their risk assessments and emergency response plans, they recognize the opportunity found in intelligent technology.
Ethos Connected’s Long-Range Wireless Area Network (LoRaWAN®) network, together with Cisco’s IoT infrastructure, deployed an advanced solution that monitors, controls, and secures the flow of water. This is while transmitting the information directly back to Idaho Water District 63 on an easy-to-manage dashboard. Not only did this automate parts of the Boise River with Ethos Connected’s LoRaWAN network, but it also leveraged Ethos Connected’s water management expertise to create an IoT-enabled water solution.
Implementing smart sensors and carrier-grade networks designed to empower water managers to monitor water conveyance without going into the field is the key to water savings and more resilient management practices. Sensors notify users of water levels, flow, operational insights, and other possible risks. Sensor data can be used to automatically adjust infrastructure based on water levels, contaminants, and other issues in the water distribution network. This technology offers more profound insights, remote monitoring, remote equipment control, and less energy.
Ethos Connected Creates Reliable Connections in Rural Areas
As the nation’s largest carrier-grade LoRaWAN, Ethos Connected empowers more water districts, municipalities, and producers to monitor, control, and secure water flow to their communities, residents, and farms. In addition to reducing usage and leaks, this technology enables users to receive real-time alerts on water quality, climate changes, and more.
A scalable, reliable network from Ethos Connected can support plans for updating and expanding water conveyance for applications ranging from large cities to small rural farms. Learn more about Ethos Connected by reading our latest case study.