IoT 4 mins read

Helping utilities keep the water flowing

Water utilities in Australia have heavy responsibilities, balancing costs while supplying clean water in a drought-stricken land. IoT can help.

Tony Drewitt Tony Drewitt

Imagine being a farmer in Australia, the driest inhabited continent on earth. It is hot. It is prone to drought; water is increasingly scarce.

Keeping the water flowing for your farm and your home is a constant challenge. If you fail you can lose your crops, your cattle. 

Your farm – and 135,000 others – rely on one or more of the 143 water utilities in Australia to source, store and deliver clean water to you. These responsibilities are already heavy for IoT utilities – to top it off they have to keep costs down as per regulatory mandates. They cannot simply raise prices to make ends meet.

Therefore, budget is scarce for big improvements like new pipelines and reservoirs. It means they must keep opex and capex costs down – even as they continue to supply clean water efficiently, minimize leaks and manage demand.

What if your local utility could balance all these requirements while making sure your water keeps flowing? You would feel more secure knowing that your farm, your family, your cattle and crops will be nourished and safe. You would have less fear when the next drought was predicted, knowing that your water utility can handle it.

IoT and water supply

That’s why many of Australia’s water authorities have turned to connected things, like digital water-measuring devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help them get greater performance from existing assets. The problem was they did not fully understand how IoT fit in or worked in their environments.

This is where Nucleus3, a consultancy based in Melbourne with its roots in utilities, came in. With its focus on water authorities, Nucleus3 witnessed the balancing act its clients were trying to manage – and saw that many of them were considering using the IoT to help.

Its consultants found that the main barrier to adopting this capability was cost – for devices, communications and operations. If the cost was lowered, the project would become more viable. For smaller utilities there were resource constraints and they lacked the skill sets and knowledge to do it themselves.

Nucleus3 begins with a trial on a small project to demonstrate how it easy it is. Then the utility can scale up organically to ten times or more the original version using an IoT platform. The consultancy already had a firm foothold in helping water authorities kick-start smaller IoT projects, managing devices using Cumulocity IoT.

Moving forward, utilities want more from the IoT—improved intelligence and the ability to collect data more frequently. They want pressure sensing across networks in near real time. They want to monitor things like sensor conditions and sewer manhole levels to prevent spills, as well as to assure asset integrity.

Enter integration and

What Nucleus3 was missing was the integration layer that could take IoT from one-off projects to full-scale enterprise strategies. Since Cumulocity IoT was solving the device management and data collection so well, Nucleus3 decided to bring in webMethods to solve the integration requirement.

The marriage of IoT and integration led to Nucleus3 developing a full-blown IoT water management system that it calls – offering IoT benefits to all water authorities without the complexity or large up-front capital expenditure it would normally require. can deliver the required system, expertise and resources to provide a plug-and-play experience, while utilizing cloud solutions to reduce capital costs. The platform comes with pre-built API adapters into key enterprise and operational systems that will truly give an asset-to-customer view of all your operations.

Nobody else has the full end-to-end capability – and is currently being proposed to multiple utility customers. Nucleus3’s first customer is currently in the early stages of device connection.

To learn more about how Nucleus3 and Software AG can help you manage your water utility, please click below.