‘Ottawa’ City Water Quality Monitoring to go high-tech with Help From Ericsson, Rogers
The City of Ottawa has installed wireless sensors in the region’s waterways to enable automatic monitoring of potentially problematic water conditions.
The “Connected Water” system, billed as the first of its kind in Canada, is a joint initiative with wireless communications giant Ericsson and Rogers Communications. Sensors have been installed in eight rivers and streams to monitor temperature fluctuations, water clarity and other variables that could signal problems for recreational water users. The sensors are capable of signalling alerts to experts across the city as soon as water conditions turn unfavourable.
“The advantage to these solutions is that we can get them in real time and we can get them remotely so that frees up staff time to do other things and it gives us real-time data to work with,” said John Kukalis, manager of surface water management for the City of Ottawa. “What we see here is (an) efficiency measure. If we can do that and work with these things through web-based tools, there is huge potential for real-time monitoring of data and staff savings.”
The pilot project, which could be expanded to see dozens of sensors deployed in waterways around the capital, is designed to help beef up the city’s water monitoring program, which includes more than 80,000 annual water quality tests from the more than 4,500 kilometres of waterways in the region.
The Rideau Valley, South Nation and Mississippi Valley conservation authorities are also participating in the project.
Kukalis said, the city’s technology is different than other commercially available sensors on the market. He said, a comparable sensor solution could cost as much as $5,000 each. However, the city’s Connected Water sensors cost less than $1,000 for each of the eight sensors installed. The lower cost can be attributed to the city’s partnership with Ericsson, which provides the wireless communications firm with a marketing opportunity for further sales of its sensor technologies.
Kukalis also said he’d like to see future generations of the sensors be capable of monitoring water levels, bacterial counts and flow rates, which are all data points that could be extremely beneficial to city staff.