The HOBO MicroRX water-level station, which can monitor water levels in the harshest conditions, is the “perfect solution” to South Africa’s current economic and environmental challenges, says local technology integrator Euca Technologies.
South Africa has fast become a water-conscious country, owing to its water scarcity, with large sectors of the economy heavily dependent on this precious resource; business in South Africa is also hampered by droughts, heatwaves and flash floods, Euca Technologies MD Ernest Campling tells Engineering News.
“Therefore, it would be in our best interest to work more sustainably using environmental data to analyse historical trends and to action new strategies that will help South Africa’s continued growth.”
The MicroRX is suitable for applications in the water management, agriculture, research, cold storage and power industries.
“The MicroRX provides data to help businesses make more informed decisions on how best to action strategies that allow for better management of almost all unpredictable external factors that influence internal operations. It also equips users with accurate and reliable research-quality data that would allow for changes to age-old processes that might not be as efficient as they once were,” explains Campling.
He adds that it is becoming increasingly difficult to lower input costs and boost revenue in South Africa without having a better understanding of the changing factors that cannot be controlled.
“Therefore, a wireless system, such as the MicroRX, would assist in identifying factors that negatively affect revenue and were previously not taken into consideration. Finer details can be identified using trends and near real-time data to detect issues and potential issues well in advance, leaving ample time to take steps to combat the issue, compared with the archaic approaches of prior testing methods.”
The MicroRX, which measures levels, flows, flumes and stage discharge through cloud networks to help mitigate the effects of floodwater and stormwater, as well as protect against compromised storage dams, was launched in the US in July and introduced to the South African market in August.
Euca Technologies is the approved distributor of ONSET and HOBO products from US logging and monitoring system specialist Onset Computer Corporation throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
The cellular, Web-enabled MicroRX delivers near real-time water level and flow alerts, using the same 4G cellular technology widely adopted for mobile devices to provide fast, reliable communications.
Preprogrammed water-flow formulas for select weirs and flumes, as well as a stage discharge table, result in an easy and intuitive configuration, accelerating processes that were previously done manually.
New water-flow and accumulated rainfall calculations, which are performed directly on the station at the time of measurement, trigger immediate notifications of critical water-level conditions, and, combined with Onset’s ceramic water level sensor, delivers calculated water-level and flow data through the powerful cloud-based HOBOlink software for remote reporting and management.
“As a result, water level data can be accessed through any Web-enabled device to receive timely information whenever and wherever it is needed. “Designed to withstand the harshest conditions, the tough, compact station is available with built-in 5 W or 15 W solar or battery power,” says Campling.
He explains that the monitoring of water levels can be particularly challenging, especially with the need for immediate access to critical data in what is often severe weather. The compact and durable station, together with the nonvented water level sensor, allows for deployment in harsh conditions and reliable monitoring.
Supported measurements include absolute pressure, barometric pressure, leaf wetness, light intensity, photosynthetically active radiation, pulse input, rainfall, relative humidity, soil moisture, temperature, water level and wind.
The water-level station supports stormwater and wetlands monitoring; floodwater mitigation, providing an alert system for potential flood situations; and irrigation control that delivers accurate water-use data for conservation, water-use records and water rights issues. It also supports hydrological studies and enables the monitoring of surface-water systems and aquifers to support water quality and environmental studies, while station-side alarms for water flow and accumulated rainfall are triggered at the time of measurement.
The system’s nonvented ceramic water-level sensor has a choice of four ranges, while the unit is also equipped with interchangeable, Kevlar-reinforced water-level sensor cables and an integrated barometric pressure sensor. It also has a compact IP66/ National Electrical Manufacturers Association 4X enclosure, which is certified for outdoor use and provides a superior level of protection against corrosion and extreme environments.
The unit also includes a built-in liquid crystal display, as well as inputs for five plug-and-play smart sensors.