How Lantronix's S47 LoRa Pulse Logger Can Be Used With Smart Water Meters

Out of all countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Australians use the fourth-highest amount of water resources per person. Read on to find out how Smart Meters & the IoT can work together to protect the environment.

Increased frequency and severity of droughts across the country have created the need for new innovation in regards to our freshwater management.

Concerns are high enough that Australians have begun investing in saltwater desalination technology. These efforts are to ensure there is enough water available should a substantial drought drain our reservoirs.

With water supply concerns growing as the environment changes, smart water management solutions need to be implemented. Not only are these smart systems more efficient, but they also help prevent water loss through untreated, long-term leaks. These leaks result in millions of litres of water loss every year.

Continue reading for all you need to know about smart water meters and pulse data loggers for improved water management.

Engineering Smart Solutions in the Age of IoT

IoT devices are everywhere, and we all use them daily. You may not even be aware of how many IoT devices you utilise. So, what is IoT?

IoT, an acronym for the Internet of Things, is the connection between all smart devices in the world. All “smart” devices communicate through the IoT. The Internet of Things is one of the most important technology spheres in existence currently. Billions of devices around the world utilise it daily.

In short, any device that connects to the internet uses IoT, from your smart fridge to your home monitoring, to your smart light switches.

The use of IoT devices has skyrocketed around the world, and it is no wonder why. These devices allow a seamless connection between people and things.

Devices are getting smarter. IoT makes it so they are able to communicate with one another to help drive innovation.

These IoT devices go far beyond personal use. Industries around the world utilise IoT networks for monitoring, controls, and efficiency. These devices also can be used by government agencies for various needs as new problems present themselves.

Smart water metering is a great example of smart IoT solutions for emerging issues.

As water waste becomes a major concern as the climate evolves, smart solutions are needed. Smart solutions will optimise the existing water management infrastructure. By taking advantage of new technology, we can address water loss problems earlier and save water.

How Smart Water Metering Works

Traditional manual water logging comes with many fallbacks. For one, this system requires an incredible amount of labour and effort. Consumers are removed from the monitoring process and are less motivated to reduce their water consumption.

Additionally, when leaks happen they can go undetected for long periods of time. Water leaks do not just happen at the surface level. Some water leaks happen deep underground and can go unnoticed for excessive periods of time.

Water leaks can be seriously detrimental fiscally as well as practically, as water waste is a growing problem in much of Australia.

IoT technology has revolutionised the water monitoring process. Smart water meters are capable of:

  • Reducing costs
  • Detecting and alerting leaks
  • Saving water
  • Reducing labour

Data is accessible from anywhere in the world, which makes it much easier to conduct large-scale reviews of water usage and waste. Smart technology puts water management back into the hands of consumers. It empowers consumers to review and reduce their water consumption.

Most importantly, smart monitoring can alert appropriate personnel at the first detection of a leak. This saves Australians both money and water.

LoRaWAN and Water Metering

When it comes to city planning or large-scale device management, a LoRaWAN network is a key component. But what is LoRaWAN?

LoRaWAN stands for Long Range Wide Area Network. LoRaWAN is a low-power and highly efficient network for connecting and transmitting data from smart devices to the IoT. It is substantially more efficient than WiFi or Bluetooth. It also works great in remote areas with poor cellular connectivity.

This emerging technology sector has strong collaborative backing from around the world. The LoRa Alliance is a community of technology companies from all around the globe. The Alliance’s goal is to create a standardised network of LoRaWAN ecosystems. By standardising LoRa, businesses around the world can take advantage of the best IoT networks available.

The benefit of using a LoRaWAN water logger network is that many devices can communicate with each other in a network. Areas with large numbers of water loggers can transmit data to a gateway. The gateway can then transmit the data centrally to the cloud.

LoRa vs LoRaWAN

LoRa and LoRaWAN are often used synonymously, but they are not exactly the same.

LoRa is a wireless technology used to communicate via a license-free wireless spectrum. LoRa is just the base layer for IoT device communication – it is not optimised for large-scale data and device management.

LoRaWAN is that networking component necessary for large-scale LoRa use. LoRaWAN adds increased security and capabilities. Devices can transmit large quantities of data securely and efficiently.

For the purposes of large-scale water management, LoRaWAN technology allows smart water meters to communicate and transmit data as efficiently as possible within the established network.

Supplementing a Smart Water Meter with a LoRa Pulse Logger

Pulse loggers are highly efficient and precise ways to monitor water output. They work by hooking up to existing water monitoring infrastructure and recording “pulses” of water flow. 1 litre/pulse is most common for residential meters, larger meters may generate the pulse after larger volumes of water.

Long-term data on water flow using a pulse logger can make anomaly detection much more rapid. When the output is changed by a leak, the pulse logger can detect unusual patterns to prevent further water wastage.

By pairing a radio water meter with LoRaWAN technology and pulse data loggers, efficiency is massively increased. Leaks and deviations are almost immediately noticed and reported centrally. This allows repairs to be made faster and reduces water waste and costs.

Applications of Pulse Data Loggers in Australia

With climate change creating an increased risk for droughts, every drop of water counts. Recent predictions suggest an increase in the frequency and severity of these droughts in the coming years. Cities all over Australia are preparing for these future droughts.

In Sydney, droughts can have the largest impact. Droughts in recent years have plummeted the city reservoir’s levels to half capacity at alarming rates. As Australia’s most populous city, a severe Sydney drought could be crippling.

Preserving and conserving water in every way possible is needed to secure there is enough water in the coming years. This is where a smart water meter can shine. By efficiently monitoring water output using a wireless water meter, you can prevent water leaks, lower costs, and encourage residents to control their water usage.

The Hidden Cost of Leaks

In Sydney alone, an estimated 10% of available water is lost through leaks. That is equivalent to 150 million litres of water going to waste. In times of drought, that is water that Australians cannot afford to lose.

Better water management is possible through IoT devices. Sydney’s water meters can be optimised using LoRa water loggers, as can many Australian cities.

Australians are beginning to recognise the need for digital water accountability and control. We are only just starting to understand the volume of water lost through manual waterlogging and delayed leak response times. As a result, digital water metering programs have just begun popping up across Australia.

By supplementing smart water meters with pulse data loggers, consumers can be more precise and controlled in their water management. Pulse loggers can flag water output anomalies almost immediately. This alert time allows faster response times and less water waste.

Lantronix specialises in this type of LoRaWAN pulse logger. The Lantronix S47 LoRa Pulse Logger can be used with smart water systems to create a highly-efficient water management system in Australia. These battery-operated water loggers maximise efficiency and minimise waste.

Implement Smart Water Meters and Pulse Data Loggers For The Most Efficient Water Management

Droughts are on the rise throughout Australia. It is more important than ever to optimise our water management infrastructure.

Smart water networks and pulse logger technology maximise the efficiency of the water management infrastructure. By constantly keeping track of the output of water, consumers and government agencies can work together to reduce water waste.

With the massive growth in LoRaWAN infrastructure and IoT technology, there has never been a better time to develop smart water infrastructure. Take the leap to smart water management today. SAPPLY is here to help; for more information, contact us today.