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China’s Danjiangkou Reservoir is Flanked by 100,000 IoT Sensors

  • 18 January 2018
  • Sam Mire

China’s massive water diversion system, which is comprised of a series of canals originating from the Danjiangkou reservoir, is impressive enough as an architectural feat. 11 million residents in the Chinese capital of Beijing – approximately half of the city’s population – rely upon the diversion system for their water, and it is the largest water diversion project in the world. For a massive, heavily populated country that tends to gather far more rain in the south than the north, this is a critical and visually impressive structure.

But the series of waterways, which span approximately 870 miles in total length, will now run through three primary canals directed toward the eastern, northern, and western regions of the nation. These canals will represent more than just the longest dam and diversion system in the world, but also the most technologically advanced. The canals will be outfitted with approximately 100,000 IoT sensors that will serve several important purposes.

To me, this is a good example of IoT applied to critical infrastructure, says Adam Drobot, Chair of IEEE IoT Activities Board. You build it so it’s protected to begin with and not as an afterthought.

The protection that Drobot is speaking of arises from the sensors’ constant scanning of the waterways for structural damage that could lead to costly leaks. Considering the immense length of the canals, these sensors serve a role that human inspectors simply could not. Further, they save on costs by alerting human overseers to problems before they proliferate. These sensors also provide data about water flow rate and water quality, key indicators of whether the series of waterways are functioning properly.

Any person or animal who may wish to take a swim or intrude upon the waterways – looking at you, anti-H2O protestors – will also set alarms linked to the plethora of sensors. All said, this tech-laden blueprint should serve as the ideal for any municipality, state, or nation that relies on man-made waterways to transport water, whether it is for drinking, personal hygiene, agriculture, or other purposes. According to Chinese officials, the greater the number of sensors, the “smarter” the waterway becomes.

“We now have more and more sensors and more and more methods to make our environment smarter,” says Yang Yang, a high-ranking director at Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology who helped consult on the project.

China’s massive water diversion system, which is comprised of a series of canals originating from the Danjiangkou reservoir, is impressive enough as an architectural feat. 11 million residents in the Chinese capital of Beijing – approximately half of the city’s population – rely upon the diversion system for their water, and it is the largest water diversion project in the world. For a massive, heavily populated country that tends to gather far more rain in the south than the north, this is a critical and visually impressive structure.

But the series of waterways, which span approximately 870 miles in total length, will now run through three primary canals directed toward the eastern, northern, and western regions of the nation. These canals will represent more than just the longest dam and diversion system in the world, but also the most technologically advanced. The canals will be outfitted with approximately 100,000 IoT sensors that will serve several important purposes.

“To me, this is a good example of IoT applied to critical infrastructure,” says Adam Drobot, Chair of IEEE IoT Activities Board. “You build it so it’s protected to begin with and not as an afterthought.”

The protection that Drobot is speaking of arises from the sensors’ constant scanning of the waterways for structural damage that could lead to costly leaks. Considering the immense length of the canals, these sensors serve a role that human inspectors simply could not. Further, they save on costs by alerting human overseers to problems before they proliferate. These sensors also provide data about water flow rate and water quality, key indicators of whether the series of waterways are functioning properly.

Any person or animal who may wish to take a swim or intrude upon the waterways – looking at you, anti-H2O protestors – will also set alarms linked to the plethora of sensors. All said, this tech-laden blueprint should serve as the ideal for any municipality, state, or nation that relies on man-made waterways to transport water, whether it is for drinking, personal hygiene, agriculture, or other purposes. According to Chinese officials, the greater the number of sensors, the “smarter” the waterway becomes.

“We now have more and more sensors and more and more methods to make our environment smarter,” says Yang Yang, a high-ranking director at Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology who helped consult on the project.

About Sam Mire

Data journalist and market research analyst focused on emerging technology, trends, and ideas.

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