Running out of water during a big dry might be a thing of the past, thanks to a Kiwi invention.
A new version of the Smart Water wireless tank level gauge, set to be released this year, will have an accompanying smartphone app that will allow users to check their tank level from anywhere in the world.
Director Ken Child says pre-production units are currently being successfully trialled at the ranger’s station at Sullivans Bay in Mahurangi West.
The system includes a depth sensor cable, a solar powered transmission unit, and both wall-mounted and desktop wireless receivers with LCD displays.
Aqua Filter Rodney’s Steve Reynolds has been trialling the precursor model without the app for four years and says it is the most reliable he has tried.
“The best feature is an alarm that tells you how many days of water you have left based on your last 30 days of usage. During the summer, there is often a two to three week wait to get water from a truck and this device helps reduce the risk of running out.
“It also has an alarm that will sound if you are using too much water, for example, if you have a leak or a hose fitting blows.”
To set up the system, the weighted cable sensor is lowered to the bottom of the tank, and then the height of the tank is inputted.
Up to eight tanks can be linked to one LCD receiver, which is useful for a farmer who might have tanks in the hills, which are difficult to access.
“It also reduces the risk of injury. It can be difficult to get on top of a tank and lift a heavy concrete lid.
I’ve seen a lot of people slip and get grazed, and worst-case scenario, you could fall in.”
Steve says the solar panel is reliable for powering the unit as long as it is in an open area and sees at least four hours of light a day. However, a unit in the bush would need to be connected to mains power.
“In the summer, I would install about three a month and this is increasing now that the price has been dropped from $680 to $450.”