Will the “Internet of Things” Solve the Water Crisis?

By: Tim Fleming
Apr 15, 2015 11:05 AM ET

Will the “Internet of Things” Solve the Water Crisis?

My family has been farming in Texas for generations so I understand the lifeblood of water, and have seen firsthand the impact severe drought can have on crops.  Of course it isn’t just farmers in Texas who are impacted by the water crisis.  Over a year ago I wrote about the state of emergency declared by Governor Brown in California and two weeks ago the governor ordered California’s first mandatory water restrictions.  This problem isn’t limited to agriculture either—with about 50% of outdoor, urban water being wasted—it is much bigger.

At AT&T, we are working with other companies to tackle this problem. For example, HydroPoint’s WeatherTRAK Water Management Solution uses AT&T’s machine-to-machine (M2M) technology to enable HydroPoint’s customers to remotely manage every irrigation controller they have installed throughout the U.S. and Canada from a single Web-based interface. AT&T’s wireless network allows each HydroPoint controller to wirelessly connect directly to the Internet and transmit real-time information including site-specific weather, sprinkler run times, water flow control, and alerts when leaks are detected or the landscape is at risk. These capabilities allow the end-user to take action to save water and reduce costs. One HydroPoint customer, Starwood’s luxury resort The Phoenician, has reduced its water usage by 50 percent.

This is just one example. The explosion of machine-to-machine technology, big data and the “Internet of Things” opens up so many possibilities. My grandfather used to depend on The Old Farmer’s Almanac for his weather forecasts and I can only wonder what he would think about the incredible technology available today and the possibilities around the corner. 

Learn more about our work with HydroPoint and how we are working toward a more sustainable future in our 2014 Annual Report.