Overhauling water management: IoT's role in cost savings, resource preservation and sustainability

June 17, 2024
IoT tools can help buildings and utilities save on water consumption by detecting leaks in systems.

Water leaks in buildings are more than just a nuisance; they’re a silent drain on financial and environmental resources. Every year, outdated water management systems result in the loss of millions of gallons of water, contributing to structural damage, depletion of resources and even the notorious “sick building syndrome.” With the average cost to fix water damage sitting at $89,000, the urgency for proactive measures is more than pressing—it’s long overdue.

The scale of the issue

Approximately 2.1 trillion gallons of treated water are lost annually in the U.S. due to leaky infrastructure. While ten drips per minute may seem inconsequential, it adds up over time, equating to roughly one gallon of water per day. Faster drips of around 120 drips per minute can add a jaw-dropping $200 to one’s monthly water bill.

Not all hope is lost: enter IoT connectivity solutions

The advent of Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity solutions and smart water management is proving to be a game-changer, especially for building owners seeking to save money. Traditional approaches to detecting and addressing leaks often fall short because they rely on manual processes or Wi-Fi, which can be inconsistent. However, IoT-enabled devices and sensors supported by always-on cellular connectivity enable real-time data analysis, empowering building owners to monitor underground infrastructure, detect leaks and optimize water distribution.

Sustainability benefits of smart water management

Smart water management allows operators to detect abnormalities and irregularities indicative of leaks and intervene before significant water loss. On top of directly influencing water conservation efforts, smart water management meaningfully contributes to broader sustainability objectives, helping users meet and surpass environmental regulations. It also helps reduce energy waste in water processing by an estimated 25%, representing a considerable stride in the march toward heightened ecological responsibility.

A case in point

In a compelling real-world example, Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv showcased the effectiveness of IoT-enabled water management with AI at its core. Faced with the challenge of unwittingly wasting significant amounts of water daily, the owners of Azrieli Towers turned to the IoT-driven Water Intelligence Technology (WINT) solution.

WINT, which employs sophisticated AI algorithms to identify leaks in real time by scrutinizing patterns in water usage, sends alerts to maintenance staff immediately upon the detection of a leak. It can even shut off the water supply autonomously if necessary. At Azrieli Towers, WINT acted swiftly to pinpoint irregularities in the cooling towers, a timely intervention resulting in the complex now preserving an impressive 25 million gallons annually.

In addition to AI, cellular connectivity also plays a critical role in the success of WINT solutions. IoT devices and sensors need connectivity to function. Thankfully, WINT uses cellular, permitting construction projects to use this technology and reap its water-saving benefits without waiting for the network infrastructure to get built.

Looking ahead

The detrimental effect outdated water management systems have on financial and environmental resources cannot be overstated. While the drain of millions of gallons of water annually contributes to structural damage, it also amplifies the urgent need for proactive and innovative solutions, and the infusion of IoT-enabled water management systems leveraging cellular connectivity stands as a symbol of hope in addressing these challenges.

With smart water management, leaks and related issues are mitigated while promoting a sustainable approach to resource preservation. Embracing these innovative solutions is imperative for a future where water is conserved, costs are minimized, and the environment is a priority. The integration of IoT and cellular connectivity in water management is much more than a technological advancement; rather, it’s a pivotal step toward a more resilient, sustainable and responsible tomorrow.

About the Author

Neil Bosworth

Neil Bosworth is an IoT specialist at Telit Cinterion where he devices and implements the IoT vertical marketing strategy across the Telit Cinterion portfolio. He is an experienced Sales and Marketing Manager with a passion for the IoT. As an active member of European Smart Meter Interest Group, Neil’s focus is primarily towards Smart Energy and Smart Metering. Before pursuing commercial career in IoT Neil worked as an electronic design and applications engineer. Having worked with Cinterion for 12 years as a cellular connectivity specialist, Neil offers advice and support companies aiming to securely connect their assets with the latest and future cellular technologies and techniques. Neil has been involved in hundreds of IoT projects connecting everything from buildings, trucks, people, animals and Smart Meters. In his spare time Neil coaches children in the art of Rugby at his local club.

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