Smart water: Environmental monitoring and analytics

Smart water: Environmental monitoring and analytics

Smart water technologies help you efficiently monitor ecosystems in real time. This monitoring supports smarter decisions about surface water quality, groundwater resources, and ocean and coastal activity. Learn how Xylem’s smart technologies detect trends and conditions for the Mississippi River and Rio de Janeiro.

Communities are facing several challenges in monitoring surface and groundwater. They need to meet tighter governmental restrictions, quickly detect threats like algae blooms, fish kills and sediment plumes, and protect freshwater sources before and after storms.

Urbanization and agricultural changes are also threatening groundwater. Overuse has led to the depletion of groundwater resources, which results in wells drying up, a decrease in groundwater quality, saltwater intrusion, and land subsidence.

Smart water technologies give communities the tools they need to detect threats in real time and prepare for the future. Remote sensors can continuously monitor and report on a variety of water resource parameters.

The data collected can also be automatically analyzed so that warning alerts can be sent, or so baseline water quality standards can be established. Continuous online monitoring helps you understand your water sources and how they are changing.

Xylem’s smart water technologies for ecosystem monitoring

Xylem’s smart water technologies for environmental monitoring can help you improve water quality and protect resources. Our equipment collects data in real time and is able to withstand tough conditions.

For environmental and coastal water quality monitoring, Xylem’s YSI brand includes sensors, instruments, software and data collection platforms. Xylem’s SonTek brand provides acoustic Doppler instrumentation for the measurement of water velocity, flow, discharge, currents and waves.

For hydrographic surveying, Xylem’s HYPACK brand delivers software for data collection and processing that enable real-time imaging, terrain modeling, and statistical reporting. It enables you to study erosion and sediment, monitor shipping channel conditions, and profile sedimentary layers underwater.

Case: The National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC)

Collecting data on the Mississippi River

Challenge: The NGRREC aims to establish a global network of real-time water quality monitoring platforms on great rivers around the world. The Center’s partners had been taking discrete water quality samples on the Mississippi River for more than 20 years. Because these samples were taken at intervals over a wide spatial range, changes that happened on a short time scale, such as a flood pulse over a week’s time, were not captured.

Solution and results: The NGRREC partnered with YSI to design and launch three monitoring buoys capable of real-time, continuous collection of water quality and phytoplankton data. The buoys are outfitted with a YSI EXO2 sonde, UV nitrate sensor, weather sensor and data logger. These continuous monitoring stations have filled in the data gaps from discrete sampling and enabled the research team to address specific research questions.

Case: The Rio de Janeiro Pilots’ Association

Real-time oceanographic data delivered to smartphones

Challenge: In the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro, ship pilots must navigate swift currents, stiff winds and fog as they cut across a narrow channel leading to Sepetiba Bay. The ships navigate their 43-meter-wide bulks down a dredged channel just 200 meters wide. Winds howl up the coast and ricochet off the mountains that ring the bay. During foul weather, the mountains trap fog and rainclouds, reducing visibility to near-zero.

Solution and results: The Rio de Janeiro Pilots’ Association requested that the port owners install the SISMO® monitoring system, which transmits data about current, level, tide, temperature, visibility, and wind speed and direction directly to the pilots’ smartphones. The system includes a SonTek acoustic Doppler current profiler that provides current velocity and direction data throughout the water column, as well as highly accurate depth measurements, all refreshed every five minutes.

by Chad Henderson