In the past decade, I have seen several areas of technology development make some significant advances—particularly in the fields of water quality sensing, data collection, and real-time data analytics.
But the big advances that are enabled by the past decade of progress in these areas hasn’t happened yet, and that’s where my real excitement and interest lies.
We now have a variety of sensors that can be installed throughout the water treatment process and the water distribution network—providing a continuous stream of real-time water quality data that just a few years ago would have required sampling and laboratory analysis to produce. The sensitivity of these sensors is very impressive, with some potential contaminants now capable of being detected down to very low concentrations, in the parts per billion range, in real-time.
At the same time, robust wireless cellular networks support data collection from sensors deployed across the often large area served by water and wastewater distribution networks. This is a critical piece of the puzzle that has made installation of water quality sensors significantly cheaper and easier.