How to combat climate change with sensors

Climate change causes increasing frequencies of heatwaves and extreme rainfall across the globe. These events result not only in a severe excess or lack of water at any given location but also cause significant water quality effects. Low river flows as a result of prolonged drought cause wastewater effluent discharges to have a greater effect on river water quality. Flooding of industrial or urban areas leads to a wide range of water pollutants in a short space of time, and significantly increases the risk of clean drinking water being mixed with polluted stormwater or sewage.

When dealing with the aftermath of extreme weather events, water quantity often receives the most attention, but water quality is just as important.

Salinity and oxygen level fluctuations are among the most well-known quality issues related to heatwaves and prolonged periods of drought. Floods often lead to outbreaks of waterborne diseases. Insight into water quality changes using sensors helps to identify and implement the best possible mitigation strategies.

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Since 2015, more than 100 people have died annually because of floods in the US. More than 50% of those deaths have happened in motor vehicles.

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Between 2001-2010, the global reported number of floods was 1,852 – which is 250 times higher than 100 years earlier (ourworldindata.org).

Showcase

NEWater wastewater reclamation to overcome water shortages

NEWater is a used-water reclamation scheme, mainly for non-potable industrial or indirect potable reuse. This frees up potable water for domestic consumption. During dry periods, NEWater is added to PUB’s reservoirs to blend with raw water for the production of drinking water. This showcase describes how sophisticated online TOC monitoring was used to assess RO membrane integrity and to ensure continuous high quality of the produced water.

Today, NEWater meets 40% of Singapore’s total water demand. By 2060, NEWater is projected to meet 55% of Singapore’s future water demand. Thus, NEWater forms a sustainable and renewable water source for Singapore, making it less susceptible to changing weather and rainfall patterns.

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