As a professional in the water treatment industry, you are likely impressed with just how far water quality technologies have come in a mere year. Advancements in technology and improved techniques this year look set to stick around for years to come.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top five innovations of water quality technology in 2020.
Smart Home & IoT
It was only a matter of time before the digital age met the water industry. There are several smart home technologies that have seen a surge in popularity in 2020, thanks to their ability to not only prevent water-related disasters, but also make it easy to monitor water usage on a day-by-day basis.
Perhaps the most impressive smart home water device is the Wi-Fi smart water leak detector, which monitors whole home water flow and usage in plumbing and water-based appliances.
Users can place these sensors in specific locations around their home, and the sensors will alert them via a notification to a phone app if water is detected where it should not be. Provided these sensors are placed within 6 feet of a water source, they should be able to detect a leak. They also allow homeowners to monitor their daily water usage, again via an app, and make note of where they could save money on their water bill.
Manufacturers are also now introducing smartphone apps that can be linked up to whole house water filters and water softeners via Wi-Fi. These allow for remote system management, enabling users to monitor their system, receive alerts for potential issues, and even input certain programming features from their smart device. Rather than having to access the control panel of their filtration system or water softener, users can simply view all the important data in one place on a designated app.
Decentralized Water Recycling for Small Scale Applications
Messy, temperamental DIY solutions were once the only option when it came to recycling greywater in homes and small commercial businesses, such as hotels. However, 2020 has seen the introduction of greywater treatment and recycling solutions, which enable home and business owners to reduce their water consumption and contribute towards an overall improvement in commercial and residential water conservation.
The global water shortage crisis is no secret, and it looks as if we are finally seeing the emergence of reasonable solutions that we can all implement to do our part in reducing water shortage. This is particularly beneficial to those living in states that are hit hardest by drought, such as Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and California.
Decentralized water recycling systems can collect hundreds of gallons of water per year. Most of these systems divert greywater from bathtubs, showers, sinks and laundry drains, then disinfect and filter it, making the water safe and suitable for use in irrigation and similar applications. Not only can they help property owners to cut down on water bills, but they are also one of the greatest eco-friendly water solutions of the decade.
These systems are becoming smarter, as well, making them easier to maintain and expanding their lifespans. For instance, the first greywater recycling systems would treat water solely with filters, which inevitably clogged and required maintenance. The best greywater recycling systems today use disinfection technology to recycle water, removing dirt and pollution, and making it suitable for reuse in a home or business.
Atmospheric Water Generation (AWG)
Creating drinking water from air is something that is certainly possible, but it has taken until 2020 for atmospheric water generation (AWG) to move beyond being a concept and morph into a reality. Designed in response to the growing problem of water depletion across the world, AWG technology is designed to extract water from air with high humidity levels.
When air enters an atmospheric water generator, water vapor is extracted using the process of condensation. Air is either pressurized or cooled below its cool point to make this possible. There are also desiccant-based AWGs, which send humid air over a salt mixture to extract water vapor.
Some atmospheric water generators on the market require electricity to operate, but the newer designs use other sources of energy, such as solar power, which makes them a more accessible option for remote installation.
AWG technology could be a game-changer for developing nations, where access to clean water may be a struggle in years to come. Some AWG systems can do more than just provide water; they also act as an electricity source and provide emergency supplies in response to a natural disaster.
Rainwater harvesting is a concept that has really come to fruition in 2020. This innovative technology has become a viable option for businesses and homes across the world, making smart use of the rainwater that oftentimes disappears down our drains.
In most rainwater harvesting models, rainwater is collected from the roof of a building. It can then be reused in a number of applications both inside and outside of a home or business, helping users to save money on water bills and move towards a more sustainable way of living.
Like greywater, rainwater can be recycled in appliances such as toilets and washing machines. Rainwater harvesting technologies can even prevent flooding, as they collect water from rainfall first, taking the pressure off nearby storm drains.
Rainwater harvesting is a commonsense approach to recycling readily available water to the benefit of businesses and individuals. Rainwater is harvested in a five-stage process after entering the storage tank, starting with pre-filtration and ending with point-source of treatment. Depending on the desired use of this harvested rainwater, a rainwater harvesting system should be tailored to ensure the treated water meets the water quality requirements.
Most people were educated on the dangers of drinking seawater when they were children, but it has now become possible to turn seawater into drinking water in the process of wave-powered desalination.
This technology uses wave energy converters and large storage containers to harness the unpredictable power of waves, delivering clean water to those who need it most, including developing countries and island nations. Resorts, private islands and coastal communities will also benefit from wave-powered desalination.
The genius of this idea is that industrial-scale technologies will not need to be built to make this concept possible, as micro-scale solutions can be implemented on a need-by-need basis.
Ocean waves are both inexhaustible and renewable, making wave-power desalination one of the most environmentally-friendly means of generating clean drinking water. While this technology has been in production for just under a decade, 2020 is the year that it has finally come to light. No electricity is required for wave-power desalination, and only a low level of maintenance is necessary.
2020 has been a year of innovation in the water quality industry, with the advancement of technologies that will not only make the lives of the average home or business owner more convenient but also provide a means to change our impact on the world in a dramatic way.
If this is how far the industry has come in the short space of 12 months, it is enticing to think about what lies 12 months ahead. No doubt there will be even greater innovation than what has come about this year—and that is certainly something to be excited about.