BUSINESS CASE STUDY
Automated Water Management for Idaho Water District 63
As the Western United States struggles with increasingly severe bouts of drought and extreme weather conditions, state and local governments are recognizing the need to modernize critical water infrastructure. These unprecedented conditions are increasing the threat of wildfires, damaging agricultural systems, and leading to potential water insecurity.
Idaho Water District 63 draws much of its resources from the Boise River in Idaho. Severe droughts have already diminished snowpack runoff in recent years. Failure to act in the face of these growing drought conditions could result in water insecurity for both urban and rural communities. The Boise Basin relies on the 102-mile river for farming, ranching, forestry, fishing, and tourism. District 63 recognized the need to modernize its century-old water operational processes.
Paige Wireless partnered with Cisco to build a smart management system to automate the Boise River and transmit real-time data to operators.
Manual Management Threatens Sustainability
Prior to 2021, Boise River management depended on significant investments of personnel, time, and capital to regulate this limited resource.
Past water infrastructure required manual monitoring with a delay of up to a week, using data from the previous week to make determinations for next week’s headgate levels. Due to increased irrigation demands, extreme weather changes, and less snowpack, full automation would have helped save nearly 8,000 to 15,000 acre-feet of water, according to Idaho News.
Idaho Water District 63 faced water insecurity due to:
- Extreme weather (drought) that exacerbates the need for modernized critical water infrastructure to mitigate water scarcity in urban and rural Idaho communities.
- The harsh desert plain’s rural and urban communities rely on the Boise River to support local farming, ranching, forestry, fishing, and tourism.
- Watermasters spend time and money visiting 88 sites along the Boise River weekly, only to then have to rely on aging data to make manual adjustments once a week
To capture real-time data on the Boise River’s movement, its use, and current allocation, Paige Wireless, North America’s leading LoRaWAN network provider and Internet of Things (IoT) solution company, partnered with Cisco to measure water use and groundwater behaviors.
Monitoring, Controlling, and Securing Valuable Resources in Real-Time
Paige Wireless’ LoRaWAN network, together with Cisco’s IoT infrastructure, deployed an advanced solution that monitors, controls, and secures the flow of water, while transmitting the information directly back to Idaho Water District 63 on an easy-to-manage dashboard:
- This automated parts of the Boise River with the Paige Wireless’ LoRaWAN network.
- The smart water technology monitors, controls, and secures the water flow while transmitting the information in real-time directly to a dashboard at the water district.
- This also leveraged Paige Wireless’ water management expertise to create an IoT-enabled water solution.
The result of this advanced management technology:
- Decreased expenses of maintaining water supply each year
- Higher reliability and more efficient communication between farmers and the TPNRD
- Access to an accurate, rich data set
Real-Time Data Helping Agencies Drive Sustainability
After the adoption of the system, the data gathered by the sensors along the Boise River for Idaho Water District 63 is current and precise every day. The newfound, real-time information is allowing the skilled watermasters to spend their time strategically making wise adjustments to the Boise River flow to optimize savings while still serving their customers who depend on the water to survive.
- Saves 10 trillion glasses of water per month through daily adjustments based on real-time data
- Costs 1/10th the amount of a traditional reservoir storage solution ($300/acre-foot vs. $3000/acre-foot)
- Saves Idaho Water District 63 countless hours and vehicle costs every week (by eliminating visits to 88 water sites to gather data manually)