Wireless Water Pipe Monitoring System Using Short Message Services
Have you awakened up one morning with your water bill suddenly increased to an unreasonable amount? And you suspected probably because of a leak in your water pipelines somewhere. Now the problem is, you don’t know exactly where that somewhere is, because you got a wide water pipe lining assembly in your structure and some or most of your pipelines are buried underground. But the greatest problem is that while you are still searching for it, the leakage is incessantly wasting off cubic meters of water unreasonably into nowhere, plus the dangers of your water supply getting contaminated by health hazardous chemicals that could possibly be occurring somewhere near you.
Well the problems with pipe leaks are we do not know them right at the moment they occur, we can’t instantly identify their exact location, and so we cannot carry out necessary actions right away. If only the pipeline assembly is watching over itself and then instantly inform us whenever something happens, it would be a lot easier.
Having it said, this idea has been made possible by a team of aspiring engineers from my home country, Philippines.
Eldwin Shieldon Ytac and group mates Gerald June Dagondon, Joseph Tabaranza, Wilmer Malanog, Johnry Daquipil and Gina Palomares are 5th year Electronics and Communications Engineering students from Holy Name University in Tagbilaran city, Bohol.
The team found a highly compelling problem for a thesis project in the town of Calape, where student team leader Eldwin Shieldon Ytac resides. Through Calape Vice Mayor Francisco Ruben D. Co and his board members, they learned that some 25 cubic meters of clean water has been wasted daily due to leakages in the municipality’s piping system.
With this problem, the team designed a “Water Supply Management through Wireless Technology System” under the guidance and mentoring of Engr. Justiniano Villocido, the team adviser.
The system is a wireless solution using Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) technology, Short Messaging System (SMS) specifically, to monitor the conditions of water pipes. It features wireless water level detection, water routing, water pump switching and the immediate detection of possible leakages. This is achieved through the use of sensors attached to the main pipelines of the system that monitor the pressure of the water flow. Whenever a significant change in the pressure is detected, as maybe caused by a leak, the water supply for that pipe will be closed and the sensor sends data into the consumer's mobile phone and to a computer where an operator or a monitoring officer can view the information. The data sent includes the location of a possible leakage displayed in a Google Map of the pipeline network.
Below are some photos of the prototype system:
The project has been a remarkable success and was sent as an entry to the Smart Communications, Inc.‘s 6th SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards in the year 2010, where they emerged champions, becoming the innovative competition’s 1st Place national winner that year.
As for the recent developments of the project, SMART Communications, Inc. through its Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP) has released a 500,000.00PHP research grant to Holy Name University for an actual scale implementation of the project which will run for a period of six months until its final implementation. That is according to the university’s website’s news page.
This time, the project will benefit the community of Dauis, a small baranggay in the island of Panglao which also needs improvement in their water piping systems. The new proponents of the project namely; Engr. Justiniano Villocido Jr., Engr. Rosanne Daquio and Engr. Jan Ray Rulida are faculty members of the college of engineering of the same university. The new proponents will try to explore the potential of General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) as an alternative medium for SMS, since GPRS is more economically advantageous than SMS when it comes to incessant sending of data from a remote data collection system to a central system.
Projects like this are significant milestones for the greater advancement of the plumbing industry. With this, not only does the consumers become instantly notified through text messages (SMS) about any possible leakages within their respective premises, but also it provides an immediate temporary action by closing the water supply while you are still unable to attend to the situation. Water supply providers on the other hand will have a more sophisticated way of monitoring the conditions of the water pipes in their area. It also serves as a new data gathering method that may lead them to identify new potential problems, predict trends, and develop new ideas for further improvements. Thus, both the consumers and the providers can better help each other in the proper use and conservation of our precious water resources.