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The role of automation in easing the world’s water crisis

By Contributing Author

We have all seen the dystopian movies in which water has become the world’s most precious commodity. Like all good fiction, it strikes a chord because it is all so plausible. As long ago as 1985, Boutros Boutros Ghali predicted that the next major war would not be fought over political ideals or oil, but water.

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Across the globe, nations are fighting their own battles with water. In short, the problem is a simple one. The planet’s water supply is a closed system. We have not found ways to generate more water, we have what we have, and it is up to us to allocate it shrewdly. Across every continent, there are high-minded government initiatives, but there are 7.4 billion people on the planet, and it is down to each and every one of them to contribute towards conserving our most precious, life-giving resource.

Using solenoid valves to conserve water

These days there seems to be a technological solution to every problem we can think of. So what technological advances can we use to conserve water? From the domestic user’s perspective, one of the most important tools is the solenoid valve. 

The way it works is that automated systems monitor the flow of water, along with other conditions, for example temperature and humidity, and switch on or shut off the water supply accordingly. In today’s smart homes, solenoid valves play an increasingly important role both conserving resources and reducing utility bills for householders.

Real time metering

Smart meters have already demonstrated their effectiveness when it comes to electricity. The theory is simple enough: When a householder has a box on the wall telling them how much he or she is spending at any one moment, it focuses the attention and leads to more efficient consumption.

Exactly the same approach can be used with water supplies and has already been introduced in some parts of the UK, where smart metering is resulting in a 30 percent reduction in consumption.

Leak detection

Across the globe, even the most technologically advanced nations are battling the same difficulty. Their water distribution networks are typically 50 years old or more, and it is starting to show. The US infrastructure has been described as “absolutely terrible” and in need of $600 billion of investment.

While the politicians ponder that dilemma, there are things householders can do to manage the infrastructure within their own properties. A leaking faucet is plain to see and simple to fix, but a leaking toilet, where water is silently trickling from cistern to bowl, can go unnoticed for years, yet wastes as much as 700 litres of water per day.

Real time leak detection systems can be installed in the home at minimal cost and will provide an instant alert to the householder if water is being lost anywhere on the property. If only the municipal infrastructure could be controlled so easily!



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