A smart sensor network developed by CSIRO and Seqwater to monitor the quality of drinking water in south–east Queensland has earned one of the Australian ICT industry’s highest accolades.
The innovative project was named the 2010 iAward winner for research and development at the Australian Information Industry Association’s annual awards held in August.
The award recognises CSIRO and Seqwater for the development of Australia’s largest integrated intelligent wireless sensor network, which is monitoring Lake Wivenhoe and its catchment. This supplies the majority of the region’s drinking water as part of the SEQ Water Grid.
Seqwater’s Principal Scientist Dr James Udy, who worked on the project as part of the CSIRO-Seqwater collaborative research agreement, said this was an innovative technology with a capacity to answer several management questions.
“This ground-breaking technology in water monitoring will help Seqwater gather greater quality and volume of water samples and will be used to develop more efficient and cost effective water treatment processes,” Dr Udy said.
“The network is also being used to develop real-time models of the catchment through better understanding of water movement, pollutant transport, and catchment behaviour during droughts and floods,” he said.
The network consists of 45 floating nodes, 25 land-based and 30 mobile nodes which measure turbidity, air and water temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, as well as the intensity of sunlight. The land-based nodes also collect stock movement and weather data, spread across the catchment.
An autonomous solar-powered catamaran, travels between the floating nodes gathering data and performing maintenance.
CSIRO Senior Research Scientist, Dr Matthew Dunbabin said the successful deployment and operation of this proof of concept network bodes well for this platform technology, to underpin the next generation of water quality monitoring systems.
“The smart sensor network we developed is an answer to a real world industry problem, and gives us the capacity to collect real-time data from the storage to the shore with a level of speed and detail not seen before,” Dr Dunbabin said.
“This technology gives us the capacity to monitor ‘events’ in real-time, such as high rainfall, droughts or contaminants entering the waterway.”
“It’s also the first time such a system has been used to monitor greenhouse gas emissions – which is something many businesses are now being asked to report on,” he said.