Don’t Let ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ Get Out of Hand
One of the most vital services any town, city, or municipality can provide to the people who live there is to make sure they have access to clean, drinkable water. In the United States alone, over 300 million people get their water from municipal water systems every day.
The process of collecting and transporting water from its sources, treating it to get rid of contaminants, and distributing it across thousands of homes and businesses is something most people take for granted, even as they rely on it to drink, cook, and clean in their daily lives.
Because most parts of a water system are either underground piping or treatment plants far away from populated areas, it often ends up being a matter of “out of sight, out of mind.” It’s easy to overlook how much water communities use on a daily basis and how much stress is placed on systems that are often aging and in need of renovation. The effects of a failure in a water system can be inconvenient and expensive at best, and catastrophic at worst.
At SkyWave Antennas, we know that just because a water system is out of sight, doesn’t mean it should go ignored. As the demand for water rises and the need for renovation becomes more pressing, we know it’s crucial for communities to invest in their infrastructure with new technology to monitor equipment and alert agencies of leaks. Our innovative water loss detection products can be a small part of larger community-wide solutions for providing clean water and can do so in a way that won’t intrude into people’s everyday lives.
The Unseen Problem of Aging Infrastructure
Most of the municipal water systems in the US were either built or expanded during the post-war boom of the 1950s and 60s. Since then, America’s highways, bridges, railroads, and other public structures have begun to deteriorate. Cracks and potholes in the pavement are at least immediately visible, drawing attention to the problem. With most of the country’s water systems being underground, however, the same problem of aging infrastructure can easily go unnoticed.
Far too often, a city or town will let their underground plumbing go neglected in favor of more visible projects, causing the community to rely on pipes that are over half a century old. In some of the older cities in America, the water system may still use piping that’s been in place since the 1800s. The most common reason for delaying repairs and renovation is that digging up old pipes is seen as prohibitively expensive, and the cost of doing so only goes up each year. However, the unseen cost of letting a water system decay can be far higher.
The Hidden Cost of Water Loss
As metal rusts and degrades over time, the most common problem in most water systems is pinhole leaks. Caused by pitting corrosion, pinhole leaks are typically very small, letting out only a small amount of water at a time. However, with enough of them over a community-wide area, these tiny leaks can add up quickly.
It’s estimated that in the US alone, over 6 billion gallons of water loss happens through leaky pipes every day, water that can’t be recovered and reused. On average, most communities can expect around 20% of their water to be wasted, and in some places, that amount can be as high as 50%. On top of the waste created by these countless tiny leaks in the system, the US experiences over 240,000 water main breakages every year. These issues cause people to use more water than they actually want and can lead to higher utility bills.
Aside from the problems of inconvenience and higher costs, failures in a community’s water system can also cause serious safety risks. Every leak not only has the problem of water getting out but runs the risk of contaminants getting into the water, including harmful bacteria and viruses. If left unattended for too long, a water leak can even cause structural damage to buildings. These problems only promise to grow more serious with each passing year.
Meeting Adversity with Innovation
While there is no “one size fits all” solution to the many problems facing community water systems, communities across the country have begun pursuing new ways to renovate aging systems and reduce waste. Many cities are adopting smart water technology, a wide range of integrated devices such as sensor nodes, smart meters, remote-controlled valves, and smart antennas all connected via the Internet of Things. By taking advantage of new hardware and software, communities can monitor water flow and quality, detect leaks, and predict equipment failure before it happens.
Having smart water technology in place would allow for a more proactive approach to renewing water systems, being able to catch small problems before they become bigger and more expensive. This can not only help save money by making repair work smaller and more manageable but also help lower utility costs for the people who live there thanks to water loss going to waste. The long-term savings from investing in the future of the community’s water system can pay off in a big way.
A Small Part of Big Solutions
In order to function across a city-wide area, IoT-integrated sensors and devices need to be able to effectively communicate with each other. Ideally, the wireless technology that connects smart water devices together would be powerful enough to cover large areas, durable enough to withstand the elements, and easy to install and replace as necessary. This is where SkyWave Antennas enters the picture.
Our GroundHog wireless antenna is ideal for leak detection and water loss projects, where it can be connected to underground devices in high-traffic areas. Its patent-pending dynamic tuning technology can work with any number of devices without any extra work from the user, and won’t lose signal when covered with mud or debris. Its rugged, low-profile design can withstand extreme heat, flooding, and long exposure to ultraviolet light, and can stand up to being run over by a 70-ton truck over 600,000 times. And it doesn’t require any special tools to install, meaning it’s easy to replace over time.
The best technology for community-wide projects like water systems will work without people ever noticing it’s there. The GroundHog is a perfect solution for this kind of “out of sight, out of mind” project. It’s powerful, efficient, durable, and unobtrusive, so you can install it where it needs to be and leave it, knowing that it will work for years to come.
Results You Can See
Clean running water is something most Americans take for granted, but the problems of old municipal water systems can easily get out of hand, leading to major expenses and worse if they’re ignored. However, “out of sight, out of mind” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. By investing in smart technology like the GroundHog as part of efforts to upgrade their infrastructures, communities can instead be confident that their utilities will be able to meet the demands of the present and the future. Keeping systems functioning and reducing wasted water can lead to savings that everyone can see, even if they never notice the technology right under their feet.
Contact us today to learn more about how SkyWave Antennas can help your next project get results you can see.