Online drinking water quality monitoring and early warning system
Online drinking water quality monitoring and early warning system

Value proposition

WATERSON is a real-time monitoring technology designed for municipal water management companies that monitor microbiological contamination in drinking water distribution networks. Unlike conventional lab tests, WATERSON online monitoring system guarantees 600 times lower costs and improves knowledge about types of water contamination.

Problem definition

The WATERSON technology tackles challenges of water quality monitoring in order to prevent possible consumption of contaminated water. This technology reduces contamination risks posed by urbanization and rapid climate change. The WATERSON technology introduces new contamination event detection approach, based on water “fingerprints”. Thus, the microbiological water quality will be evaluated instantly in a real-time mode instead of sampling and laboratory testing requiring several days to determine the presence and concentration of various microorganisms and involving significant costs for a water management company.

Technology objective

The aim of the WATERSON technology is to create a digital twin database for the storage of water contamination “fingerprints” that will be used as a water quality verification tool for drinking water quality monitoring and early warning systems. It is possible to adapt it for the wastewater and surface water applications as well.

Technology benefits

  • The WATERSON technology opens up the possibility to evaluate the microbiological water quality. Therefore it is applicable for the detection of microbiological water contamination events (e.g. disturbances in water treatment and disinfection processes or groundwater intrusion) that mostly cause waterborne diseases related to the drinking water supply systems.
  • The WATERSON technology leads to substantial cost savings. The costs are more than 600 times lower compared to the conventional lab tests and 130 times lower than alternative EWS products. Significant cost reduction facilitates continuous testing of the water flow.
  • Rapidly provides contamination results thus saving the users’ time. The drinking water quality estimation and checking its compliance with the drinking water safety requirements proceeds at least 200 times faster than with conventional lab tests. Consequently, the WATERSON technology significantly reduces the risk of supplying contaminated water to the customers and its potential impact on the customers’ health.
  • Fully automated. Using standardised online sensors, the WATERSON technology enables sensor system automatization with limited or no human involvement. There is no need to use any consumables, such as reagent refills, for the sensors. This requires low levels of involvement and training from the end-users. Thus the WATERSON technology allows reducing financial and human resources allocated for regular water quality monitoring and analysis significantly.
  • Continuous operation. Real-time monitoring, contamination dynamics over time – the monitoring system will produce 200 times more data on microbiological drinking water quality resulting in comprehensive time series datasets and statistics, their variations on an hourly, daily, monthly, seasonal, yearly basis. It will lead to enhanced knowledge on overall variations of the drinking water microbiological quality and its potential short-term incidents that is still the “unknown” in water distribution systems applying grab sampling and analysis monitoring approach.
  • Knowledge about the contamination type. The WATERSON technology allows to identify the contamination type by comparing the measured water contamination event with the “fingerprints” developed during simulations of contamination events introducing various contamination agents. This new tool for water utilities will allow not only to assess the drinking water quality and to identify potential contamination events but also to track the cause of pollution and eradicate it much faster. Thus, the time period of drinking water contamination event will be reduced, leading to lower costs of restoring the system (e.g. cleaning, disinfection costs).
  • Broad range of applications. The uniqueness lies in the fact that the addition of new sensors and the testing of new sources of contaminants will provide new “fingerprints”. The WATERSON technology has no limits for its further improvements.
  • Works with sensors from various manufacturers. The WATERSON techology is not limited towards certain sensor manufacturers. Therefore is does not have any limits to the market potential for the WATERSON technology applications.
  • Real-time data processing. The WATERSON technology supports new generation sensor systems that provide real-time data thus creating significant added value, when the data is combined with the data coming from other sensors.
  • New sensor technologies will expand the capabilities of the WATERSON technology. If more advanced and/or more affordable sensor technologies are launched on the market, they will be integrated into the WATERSON technology for the creation of new “fingerprints”.
  • Scalability. This technology does not have any limitations for scaling it worldwide. Access to the databases is possible online.

Technology concept

The WATERSON technology is built upon real-time sensor data streams that enable continuous water quality assurance. The WATERSON technology core abilities are related to the data processing and interpretation, building databases, and developing processing algorithms. The uniqueness of the WATERSON technology is based on the capability of distinguishing between various sources of contamination.

Principles of WATERSON technology

European Regional Development Fund project “Online water quality monitoring and early warning system – WATSON”, No KC-PI-2020/21.