[Original source: The Edge Markets]

The benefits of using the Internet of Things (IoT) for river monitoring are pretty straightforward. Install IoT sensors along the river and at intersections of major drains. Connect the sensors to a central system that reflects real-time data in a visual form. Enforcement agencies can then take action immediately once the sensors detect anomalies.

However, it may be expensive to install sensors along the entire stretch of the river, says Mazlan Abbas, co-founder and CEO of IoT service provider Favoriot Sdn Bhd, so a better solution could be to install them at strategic locations. “This way, it can help give quick alerts before the water enters the reservoir.

“For instance, the sensors can be placed in the middle of the river or on river banks. Odour-monitoring IoT sensors can be placed below bridges, on lamp poles near the river or on dedicated poles.”

Meanwhile, sensors placed in pipes can detect leakages.

Other locations include manholes, into which some irresponsible parties dump toxic waste, which then end up in major rivers. “The sensor will detect whenever someone opens the manhole cover. This can also address the problem of people stealing manhole covers,” says Mazlan.

Drones can be used to complement IoT solutions by using image recognition to identify pollution or get water samples. The community can also play a part by making reports on illegal dumping.

“We can use a mobile app reporting tool that can channel photos of these incidents to the authorities. It’s better to use an app to track incidents than using WhatsApp or social media for reporting,” says Mazlan.

According to him, IoT for water quality or odour monitoring can cost RM100,000 or more per site, depending on the location. Meanwhile, the cost of drones does not just include the hardware but also the accessories, monitoring system, applications and analytics, as well as maintenance.

Who will pay for these solutions? “Most likely it’s the authorities who monitor or manage the river. They can either buy, own and operate or they can pay for the services without purchasing the drones,” says Mazlan.

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