Will the “Internet of Things” solve the water crisis?

  • Severe drought, water waste, infrastructure leaks, and weather can affect water management from agriculture to urban life.

  • IoT technology and the AT&T wireless network enable customers to remotely monitor and respond to compromises in water infrastructures, helping save water, time, and money.

My family has been farming in Texas for generations, so I understand that water is the lifeblood of agriculture and have seen firsthand the impact severe drought can have on crops. Of course, it isn’t just farmers in Texas who are impacted by the water crisis. Over a year ago, I wrote about the state of emergency declared by Governor Brown in California, and last month, the governor ordered California’s first mandatory water restrictions. The water crisis isn’t limited to agriculture either; with about 50% of outdoor, urban water being wasted, water management has become a much bigger problem.

At AT&T, we are working with other companies to tackle the water crisis. For example, HydroPoint’s WeatherTRAK Water Management Solution uses AT&T machine-to-machine (M2M) technology to enable HydroPoint’s customers to remotely manage the irrigation controllers they have installed throughout the U.S. and beyond from a single Web-based interface. The AT&T wireless network allows HydroPoint controllers to wirelessly connect directly to the Internet and transmit real-time information including site-specific weather, sprinkler run times, water flow control, and alerts whenever leaks or adverse conditions are detected. These capabilities allow the end-user to take action to save water and reduce costs. One HydroPoint customer, Starwood’s luxury resort, The Phoenician, has reduced its water usage by 50 percent!

This is just one example. The explosion of M2M technology, big data, and the “Internet of Things” (IoT) opens up so many possibilities. My grandfather used to depend on The Old Farmer’s Almanac for his weather forecasts, and I can only wonder what he would think about the incredible technology available today and the possibilities around the corner.

Learn more about our work with HydroPoint and how we are working toward a more sustainable future in our 2014 Annual Report.

Read more about how AT&T IoT solutions are transforming how we live.

This post first appeared on our Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability blog.

Tim Fleming Director of Sustainability Operations AT&T About Tim