PUB gets smart

National water agency PUB will showcase its smart technologies at the upcoming Singapore International Water Week. Here is a look at some of these smart developments.

The New Smart Water Assesment Network (NUSwan), an autonomous robotic platform which conducts real-time water quality monitoring in reservoirs, is pictured at Marina Barrage on June 30. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to inspect Deep Tunnel Sewerage System

• PUB is exploring the use of UAVs for inspection of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System, a superhighway that channels used water via gravity to a centralised water reclamation plant for treatment and further purication into Newater.

• UAVs fitted with sophisticated sensors and cameras can be used to record images within this sewer tunnel, at depths of between 18m and 50m.

• Sensors also record the exact location where a photo was taken, facilitating follow-up action.

Smart water grid sensors

• Multi-sensor probe installed in water pipes to monitor water pressure, flow and quality.


• Telemetry unit transmits the data wirelessly to a central system for analysis.

• In the event of any irregular readings and analysis, the system will notify PUB to carry out the necessary repair or recovery work.

Automated Meter Reading systems

• Monitor and collect water consumption data continuously.

• The data is used for water consumption behavioural analysis.

CCTVs and image analytics

• Installed at public drains near construction sites to monitor silty discharge.

• A central server receives the images for analysis.

• More than 300 CCTVs at 250 construction sites have been linked up to the system.

Robot "swans" to monitor reservoirs

• The New Smart Water Assessment Network (NUSwan) may look like a swan but it is no birdbrain. Built that way to blend in with the environment, the autonomous robotic platform carries out real-time monitoring of water quality. They have been tested and are ready for "release" at selected reservoirs.

• They can be remotely controlled or assigned pre-defined tasks (for example, perform scanning of a given area or collect water samples) which they can carry out autonomously.

• They can be used as sensing nodes that provide good spatial coverage.

• The real-time monitoring will enhance response time to emerging events at the deployed location.

• These robots can collect water samples and, among other functions, measure pH, temperature, and conductivity of the water.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2016, with the headline PUB gets smart. Subscribe