Water Sustainability: Management Strategies Part II

water sustainability

Last month we defined the terms water management and water sustainability, as well as looking at current global water needs.

In order to properly manage our water resources we need to first make sure that our survival needs are taken care of. In this blog post we describe some tips and strategies for managing water needs for the long run.

Water Strategy Objectives

Strategies will differ according to different regional climates   and unique problems like drought, flooding or pollution/water poisoning. In all cases, however, it is important to keep your water management objectives concise, precise and realistic. Here are some common objectives:

  • Reduce water demand
  • Improve flood management
  • Increase water supply
  • Improve water quality
  • Recharge area protection—protecting our ground water sites [1]

The main objective for everyone in water management, however, is water sustainability, i.e., meeting our present-day water needs without endangering the needs of future generations. Only a holistic approach that encompasses climate, culture, technology, environmental issues and proper education will let us succeed in the uphill battle to achieve water sustainability.

Protect Our Water Sources
  • Groundwater— Groundwater typically accounts for more than 50% of our fresh water supply. We must take all the necessary steps to keep these sources clean and to use them wisely. Strategic water planning must include a practical plan for 100% replenishment of all water taken from the ground.
  • Surface Water—After decades of man-made pollution, most surface water today has to be treated to be used as a fresh water source. Building dams can help isolate surface water sources and keep them free from contaminating pollutants, as well as help with flood control. One consideration, however, when building dams is to reduce the negative impact on wildlife is not negatively affected since their source of water will be diverted from its natural path.
  • Desalination—Desalination has generated fresh water for many countries that have limited fresh water sources. To date the process requires a large amount of energy, but the near future promises desalination plants powered by solar energy that will make desalination an excellent source for sustainable water.
  • Reclaimed Water—Reclaimed reusable water is one of the most cost effective contributors to water sustainability today. Underused in most of the world, China is successfully reusing almost half of its water for irrigation and industry. [2]
IoT in Water Management

IoT, the Internet of Things, is one of the most useful enabling technologies in water management today. Some common applications are:

  • Water Conservation—IoT sensors used in reservoirs and other water storage facilities facilitate reports on how much water is being used at any given time on any given day. This information allows for proper water usage planning and conservation.
  • Smart Irrigation—reducing the amount of wasted water is one of the main goals in water management. With a smart irrigation system, IoT sensors allow highly precise and thrifty irrigation scheduling based on realtime weather and soil conditions.
  • Water Wastage Management—Smart water meters let users know where leaks are occurring as they occur. They are used efficiently in a wide variety of water distribution systems, from agricultural to residential, commercial and city-wide.
    In addition to the smart water meters, there are now IoT devices that can detect temperature changes, chemical leakage, and changes in water pressure—all of which are factors that contribute to water wastage.
  • Water Quality Testing—IoT technology can be used to analyze water sources, sending real time results such as levels of bacteria, chlorine, and totally dissolved solids. [3]
The Final Note

The warning bells are ringing. Now is the time to conserve and protect our water sources. Only by educating ourselves and communities around the world will we be able to sustainably provide the clean and accessible water sources that we need in order to survive.

We need a holistic approach that takes into account natural resources management and technology as we reduce our water usage and, even more importantly, reduce water wastage.

By working together today we can ensure a bountiful, thirst-quenching future for future generations.

References

[1] California Department of Water Resources, Water Resource Management Strategies, 2020
[2] Aquatech, Our Essential Guide to Sustainable Water Management, August 19, 2019
[3] Parija Rangnekar, How Can IoT Help In Water Management?, March 12, 2019

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