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River Watch Logo

James Muir

As a Scientific Entrepreneur and Filmmaker, James has been the driving force behind RiverWatch. His most valuable learning has been from his relationships with suppliers, researchers, designers, government and end-users.

30.11.2021

6 min read

Education

What Is A Water Quality Monitoring System?

Water quality monitoring is a cost-effective, efficient system to monitor water quality using IoT. It measures if water is safe to drink, fish from, swim in, and if it complies with legal requirements.


What is Water Monitoring?

Water monitoring is how information is gathered about the condition and quality of rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters. The process measures if these waters are safe for drinking, fishing from or swimming in. Simply put, it’s a cost-effective and efficient system designed to monitor the quality of water using IoT (Internet of Things). The data obtained is transferred to the cloud through IoT.

While there are various ways to monitor water conditions, water quality monitors include sampling the chemical condition of water and measuring constituents like salinity, acidity, nutrients, metals and contaminants. Physical conditions can also be monitored, like temperature, sediments, and erosion potential of stream banks and shores.


Who Monitors Water Quality?

Various groups monitor water quality. For example, farmers monitor their water quality to establish data for farm environment plans, and the civil construction industry monitors water and reports on regulatory compliance. In contrast, catchment groups assist their regional councils and local landowners in understanding water quality and taking action to ensure healthy waterways.


The Importance of Water Monitoring

Monitoring water is critical for gaining evidence necessary to make sound decisions for managing water quality in the present and the future. The importance of monitoring water is to comply with New Zealand legislation, ensure health standards, and protect other beneficial uses of water.

As a result of changes in climate and population growth, there’s more pressure on water supply and quality. Water is a resource that can not be wasted as declining water quality has become a reality over the years.

In New Zealand, only 8% of our rivers and 5% of our lakes are monitored – averagely, being sampled only once a month.

The Importance of Water Monitoring

There is a trend towards declining water quality from the limited monitoring of our waterways by the National Rivers Water Quality Network. To better understand and engage this phenomenon, we need to empower the various parties involved with quality data from intelligent, cost-effective and robust water quality monitoring systems.


The Benefits of a Smart Water Quality Monitoring System

Smart water quality monitoring systems can be used for five main purposes:

  • Identify changes or water quality trends over time
  • Analyse and identify existing or emerging water quality problems
  • Gather and report information to design prevention or remediation responses
  • Determine if response goals are being met
  • Respond to emergencies


About Water Quality Monitor Systems

Traditionally, water quality measurement instruments use one or more parameters, including:


The combination of several water quality sensors can give a more complex, in-depth analysis of water quality.

Manual water sampling can be costly and inherently delayed. Multiple site visits are required over long periods to gain insight from data collection. This means that it could take years of collection before receiving meaningful results.

Alternative sensor systems can be costly and lack data interpretation capabilities. This means that the data can be difficult to understand – you’d have to be a scientist to know what any of it means. With RiverWatch, we interpret it for you.


The Water Quality Solution

As mentioned, traditional water quality measuring methods can be expensive, time-consuming, or just plain confusing, like water sampling and alternative sensor systems. In addition, delays can mean inaccurate results, and data interpretation can mean difficulty understanding what the data actually means.

Smart Water Quality Data Interpretation with AI Software

The Waka

The Waka water quality monitor includes five sensors and Cellular IoT or Swarm Satellite IoT connectivity.

  • pH (Industrial Standard)
  • Conductivity
  • Dissolved Oxygen (Optical)
  • Water Temperature
  • Turbidity (ISO7027 Standard)
  • Nitrogen*
*Optional


Our system provides an easier and smarter way to gather water data. Our industry-leading software delivers real-time information to you with an innovative, compact device using the latest remote sensing technology and IoT networks.

The RiverWatch software comes with the Waka. It opens up the power of the data collected by running algorithms that combine sensor parameters for system interpretation of changes in water quality.

Our subscription covers network fees, software, and servicing and calibration of the Waka every month. More than just a product, our water quality monitoring program includes a high-quality database that sends alerts for sudden water quality changes.

Predictive capabilities are also built into the database using the AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud platform – providing early detection warnings and potential water quality problems.

The Waka
leaves room for two more sensors to be added as we extend our range. It’s the perfect fit for the farming, forestry and construction industry, industry reporting, citizen science and regulatory compliance monitoring.


The RiverWatch Way

The RiverWatch mission is to empower New Zealand to achieve clean, swimmable rivers and streams through providing real-time water quality information. We’re committed to restoring and enhancing freshwater.

We aim to become zero waste and carbon positive. The goal is to provide sustainable management of New Zealand’s rivers and streams through a full lifecycle water quality monitoring product.

Get in touch with us to find out more about RiverWatch and our innovative water quality monitoring solution.