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Stormwater Challenges That Can Be Solve by Industry 4.0 Technology

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Stormwater is a significant issue that affects water quality that governments find hard to curtail. Stormwater refers to rainfall, or where it is the end of winter, snowmelt that runs on rooftops, buildings, parking and other surfaces. Once it gets on the road, it collects debris and pollutants until it connects to a natural or artificial drainage way. Unlike the sewage waters that clean the industrial waste from factories or the toilet before it meets the surface waters, towns that get flooded by runoff water enter streams directly, polluting freshwater bodies. With urbanisation, there is further an increase in the number of stormwater runoffs which contaminate storm sewers that are part of the underground drainage system.

Therefore, there is an increased need to monitor the storage of stormwater runoffs and take measures to treat them before contaminating the limited supply of clean water. Water managers are thus pressured to find new solutions to keep the groundwater and surface water ecology safe.

Stormwater Challenges

While the adverse effects of stormwater are harmful, saying that stormwater is a way for natural or artificial drainages to get polluted is putting it mildly. Its consequences are more disastrous, affecting not only the lives of humans but also animals and even the very natural process of hydrology. Here is an overview of the challenges people face due to stormwater runoffs.
It Could Alter The Natural Hydrology of An Area

Where urbanisation has not been adequately planned, too much-polluted stormwater could alter an area’s natural hydrology. In other words, typically, when it rains, only around 10% of the water that falls from properties joins water bodies. The remaining water evaporates or infiltrates into the soil and may enter groundwater supplies. However, the amount of water naturally absorbed by the soil decreases with increased rainfall in urbanised regions. Hence, the more buildings are built without proper care, the higher the percentage of rainwater that becomes stormwater since there is a lack of vegetation for it to soak in. Thus, the more heavy rain occurs in urbanised towns, the more stormwater is created, and the faster it joins streams. This would lead to the overloading of water bodies, causing downstream flooding and streambank erosion. The flooding can damage houses and other property, including roads, requiring the government to utilise public funds for repairs.

Additionally, every time a streambank erodes, it clogs the pipes and other channels, affecting the underground sewage system and increasing the level of flooding. As a result, the sediment collected along the way that joins the freshwater bodies accelerates channel erosion and can change the composition of the water bodies. This disrupts the natural hydrology in the area.

Increase of Pollutant Levels and Drastic Economic Impacts
Since there is no identifiable pollutant in stormwater, stormwater pollution is usually referred to as diffuse pollution. This leads to different nutrients being added to the water bodies leading to algae blooms. Where algae blooms occur, water beds start to infest a toxic discharge that cannot be removed unless caught in its root stage. The pollutants that enter the bodies also reduce oxygen, killing off marine animals, whereas the decrease in the process of photosynthesis results in the destruction of marine ecology. Dangerous minerals, including lead, copper, hydrocarbons and zinc, consumed by aquatic animals and fished by villages who eat them also receive toxic minerals leading to deadly diseases. Other than the economic impact that will occur from the fall of the fisheries industry, the tourism industry could also suffer. This is especially true where water bodies are used for recreational purposes and will have to close due to their unsafety.

How can Industry 4.0 Technology Solve The Challenges Faced By Stormwater?

Since stormwater is also created at a balanced pace in unorganised towns, the presence of stormwater is not inherently wrong. It is, in fact, a valuable resource which should be regarded as an alternative water supply. Given that Earth has little drinking water, and climate change may change the level of rainfall in the future, it is integral that steps are taken to collect stormwater and treat them for human purposes. To clean and maintain the quality of the stormwater, water utility service providers can infuse industry 4.0 technology.

Analytical tools powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) are technologies that, in this regard, should be adopted to clean stormwater. By adopting such technologies, water managers can automate the process of monitoring stormwater runoffs in an area. Further, real-time and historical data can detect how stormwater affects its asset performance, operative conditions, risks, threats and other inconveniences in advance. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), smart sensors, digital twins, GIS, and simulation technology can help in averting natural disasters and any damages the overload of stormwater can cause.

Take Control of Stormwater Challenges by Incorporating Smart Technologies

With the dwindling rate of drinking water, water managers must implement feasible water recycling practices much faster. With the challenges faced by stormwater runoffs that drastically impact freshwater bodies, a mechanism to treat stormwater before it connects to surface bodies should be in place. Accordingly, earn the trust of your community by implementing treatment asset management as soon as possible.
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