Think FITBITS for water. The Quantified Water Movement (QWM) is here to stay, with devices that make real-time monitoring of water quality in streams, rivers, lakes and oceans for less than $1,000 per device.
The Stroud Water Research Center in Pennsylvania is leading the way, along with other center of excellence around the world. Stroud has been leading the way on water for fifty years. It is an elite water quality study organization, renowned for its globally relevant science and scientist excellence. Find out more at www.stroudcenter.org.
As a part of this global leadership in the study of water quality, Stroud is advancing the applied technologies that comprise the “quantified water movement” – the real-time monitoring of water quality in streams, rivers, lakes and oceans.
QWM is very much like the “quantified self movement”(see Post on QSM. QSM takes full advantage of low cost sensor and communication technology to “quantify my self”. In other words, I can dramatically advance my understanding about my own personal well-being win areas like exercise, sleep, glucose levels in blood, etc This movement already has proven that real-time reporting on metrics is possible at a very low cost, and on a one-person-at-a-time scale. Apple Watch and FITBIT are examples of commercial products arising out of QSM.
In the same way, QWM takes full advantage of sensors and communication technology to provide real-time reporting on water quality for a given stream, lake, river, or ocean. While still in a formative stage. QWM uses the well-known advances in sensor, big data, and data mining technology to monitor water quality on a real-time basis. Best of all, this applied technology has now reached an affordable price point.
For less than $1,000 per device, it is now possible to fully monitor any body of water, and to report out the findings in a comprehensive dataset. Many leaders believe that less than $100 is possible very soon.
The applied technology ends up being a simple “data logger” coupled with a simple radio transmitter.
Examples of easy-to-measure metrics are:
1. water depth
2. conductivity (measures saltiness or salinity)
3. dissolved oxygen (supports fish and beneficial bacteria)
4. turbidity (a sign of runoff from erosion. Cloudy water actually abrades fish, and prevent fish from finding food)
Training now exists, thanks to Stroud, that is super simple. For example, in one hour, you can learn the capability of this low cost equipment, and the science as to why it is important.
In a two day training, citizen scientists and civil engineers alike can learn how to program their own data logger, attach sensors to the data logger, and deploy and maintain the equipment in an aquatic environment.
All of this and more is illuminated at www.enviroDIY.org.