IIoT helps cash-strapped water utilities

Posted by Amy Thibault
Amy Thibault



The stories of budget struggles for municipal water systems seem to grow every week. Overwhelming residential growth on one side, countered by budget-constrained neglect of systems on the other side, plague many small to medium towns. One way to maximize the budgets these communities do have is through efficient remote monitoring and alarming systems that are IIoT based.

Staying Ahead Instead of Getting Behind

If the leak patrol is exclusively in the hands of Bobby or Beth driving around town and looking for unexplained puddles or runoff, they’re only finding those leaks after it’s too late. And a lot of their drive time is used up on areas that are working fine. Every hour they spend driving to check an area that’s all in order is an hour they don’t have to fix or schedule repairs to areas that do need attention to keep water reliable and flowing.


The more cost-effective way—one that pays for itself—is to let Emerson’s Zedi native-cloud-based IIoT platform monitor flow rates and pressures, along with pump functionality, at key locations. Our advanced analytics are designed to detect problems—leaks, blockages, too-low or too-high pressures—and alarm the personnel you’ve assigned to the task of remediating the issue.

Using advanced logic we can greatly reduce false alarms, giving your people the information they need to spring into action quickly. In many cases they can fix the issue before it gets too big. They can prevent dangerous washouts of roadbeds, flooding, road safety issues and other things caused by misplaced water.

And since no one gets billed for water that runs down the street, our IIoT platform can quickly pay for itself in water conservation alone.

Reducing leaks also makes your townspeople happy. Their water pressure stays steady more of the time, they’re safer on the road and there may be less complaining about water bills. It won’t go to zero because…. well, there’s always somebody…..


A Growing Issue

Or maybe you have the opposite situation. Your town’s population is exploding—builders are grabbing hectares and slinging boards and nails around like confetti. And they’re drumming their fingers on the desk waiting for you to lay water pipes out to the Green Lawn Subdivision. How can you balance the needs of the new neighborhood with those of the longtime residents?

Remote monitoring of pumps and systems through IIoT gives you an instant handle on what water is going where. And—this does happen—if a construction backhoe slices up your new water main at 5:01 p.m., you’ll know about it at 5:02 and can slow the flow immediately while the crew dashes out to fix it. You can assess blame later.


How It Works

Bobby & Beth are now starting the day in the office evaluating the data from the night before. If they see something that looks out of specs—either pressure or flow rates—they can go directly to the right place and see if a pump bearing is wearing out or if a valve is not shut all the way.

And they can fix it immediately.

We can’t say this solves everything, but it makes employees more efficient, minimizes leak loss and gives your people the information they need to make better planning decisions.

It gives you a better chance of keeping the water flowing and the budget in place.



Topics: Technology, Software, Data, Operations, Remote monitoring, Alarms, Remote Control, Emerson, SaaS SCADA, Digital Transformation, Remote Water Management, Security, Water Management, cloud mobility, actionable data, advanced analytics, Safety, Wastewater

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