Industrial Wireless


Water monitoring for rhino conservation

August 2023 Industrial Wireless

To rescue, rehabilitate and protect rhino populations, highly specialised conservation programmes have been set up in some of the biggest national parks in southern Africa. In fact, over 44% of protected land in South Africa is dedicated to nature reserves, which all need to manage the continuous supply of clean, filtered water and process waste water to run efficiently. Ian Loudon, international sales and marketing manager at remote monitoring specialist Omniflex explains how South African rhino sanctuaries are using wireless tank monitoring to keep conservation programmes running.

According to Save The Rhino, there are just 6195 black rhinos and 15 942 white rhinos left in the world, the largest populations being in South Africa. Worryingly, ongoing poaching of rhinos means that both species face extinction if they are not adequately protected.

Because protection sites will span over tens of thousands of hectares, installing water tank monitoring systems for a conservation site is not easy. Water tanks and reservoirs are often located in difficult-to-access, unsafe areas and installing control cables over large areas is expensive. Therefore facilities managers are turning to wireless systems to monitor and manage the potable (consumable) and grey (waste) water levels for the camps, facilities and feeding stations for convalescent rhinos.

Choosing a wireless system

When choosing a system for water monitoring facilities. managers have several options, including licence-free band radio telemetry. This system uses restricted radio band frequencies, controllers and separate radio remote terminal units (RTUs), with data interfaces to monitor and control a site’s water tanks. The licence-free band allows as many devices as necessary to be connected without regulatory approval. The band used is free from other radio traffic that can interfere and disrupt communications for managing water reticulation.

With impractical cable distances and expensive instrumentation costs, managers on conservation sites have no feasible way of monitoring water conditions in their tanks using traditional solutions. By exploring wireless products that blend radio and controllers into a single package, it is possible to monitor and control water tank levels remotely over a conservation site. Products like these use licence-free band frequencies to avoid unnecessary engineering and costly administration.

A reliable solution is a system comprising multiple RTUs wirelessly interfaced into a big-screen television at a central administration point, which, due to security levels required for anti-poaching, is manned 24/7. This screen provides an overview of all water tanks located in the facility, many of which are located several kilometres away. Each RTU is configured to detect high and low water tank levels in real time, and will trigger an on-screen alarm when abnormalities are detected.

Due to the remote location of the potable water reservoir, it is impractical to connect the RTUs in these tanks to the mains power. Therefore, each terminal has a built-in solar panel, and requires no additional power connections. Because the RTUs monitoring grey water are located closer to the manned station, they can be hardwired using a single cable to the mains power. However, to be off-grid and independent, the entire facility is powered by a solar system and backup generator for emergencies. This ensures that the remote monitoring of water levels is independent, despite nationwide grid outages.

The system ensures conservation sites can monitor the conditions of their water tanks over distances of up to 15 kilometres. The RTUs are also robust, and are housed in a weatherproof casing with power supply charger units and backup batteries. What’s more, the low power consumption of the system makes it suitable for solar powered out-stations at remote reservoirs.

Conservation programmes are crucial to maintaining breeding populations and protecting endangered species from poachers. Therefore, every process from the installation of security fences to the monitoring of water levels must be carefully and efficiently controlled. When facility assets are spread over a large area, wireless remote monitoring technology makes control and management more simple, efficient and cost-effective.


Credit(s)



Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Industrial signal conditioning
Omniflex Remote Monitoring Specialists Electrical Power & Protection
Automation for Industry 4.0, process control, data acquisition, and alarm processing all rely on the conversion of physical signals to a standardised, usable format, that engineered systems can reliably use to manage industrial processes.

Read more...
Assessing the order of events
Omniflex Remote Monitoring Specialists Industrial Wireless
Being able to monitor plant alarms and events in real time, in chronological order, is critical when a plant experiences an avalanche of alarms caused by an abnormal event. Sequence of events modules can be used to cut unplanned plant downtime and reduce operational costs.

Read more...
Cathodic protection system for hazardous environments
Omniflex Remote Monitoring Specialists IS & Ex
When NSW Ports in Australia embarked on a two-year programme to rehabilitate the structures and combat corrosion levels at its Bulk Liquid Berth 1, it commissioned Melbourne-based consultancy Infracorr to deliver a bespoke cathodic protection) system. To deliver the system safely, Infraccor engaged cathodic protection specialist Omniflex to support the hazardous area and remote monitoring aspects of the CP system design.

Read more...
Signal conditioning is the protective armour between plant and field
Omniflex Remote Monitoring Specialists Sensors & Transducers
Measurement and control of physical properties are the foundation of all critical industrial technologies. Ian Loudon, international sales and marketing manager at remote monitoring specialist, Omniflex explains the challenges of industrial signal conditioning and the importance of safety engineering.

Read more...
Protecting Australia’s harbours from a silent threat
Omniflex Remote Monitoring Specialists Industrial Wireless
Omniflex has completed the addition of remote monitoring to the existing cathodic protection (CP) systems at five berths in Port Kembla, Australia. This will enhance their surveillance and provide accurate energy monitoring.

Read more...
RFID made simple
Pepperl+Fuchs Industrial Wireless
Pepperl+Fuchs now offers a practical solution for users looking for an easy entry into the world of RFID with all its possibilities. The new F191 RFID read/write device combines the advantages of sophisticated industrial UHF technology with a standardised interface for IO-link communication.

Read more...
How lighting solutions support lean manufacturing processes
Turck Banner Southern Africa Editor's Choice Industrial Wireless
The philosophy of lean principles is a big trend in the pharmaceutical industry. It emphasises using time and resources as efficiently as possible in order to reduce waste and focus on value-added activities. Here are four examples of how lighting solutions can help increase efficiency by addressing common sources of wasted time and resources in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Read more...
Programmable LED indicators
Turck Banner Southern Africa Industrial Wireless Data Acquisition & Telemetry
Turck Banner is expanding its portfolio of LED lights with the robust LED indicators of the K100 series. These units improve workflow and reduce downtime through clearly communicated status information.

Read more...
Optimising automated seed production
Turck Banner Southern Africa Industrial Wireless
A leading seed specialist in Germany uses state-of-the-art plant breeding methods to increase yields and improve the resistance of plants to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. This requires the seed to be propagated and processed under controlled climatic conditions to high quality standards. Turck’s compact TBEN RFID interfaces for highly available systems meet the requirement for redundancy.

Read more...
New mobile handheld readers
Pepperl+Fuchs Industrial Wireless
Pepperl+Fuchs has expanded its range of handheld readers with the introduction of an extremely powerful variant, the OHV210 series mobile handheld readers. The new devices, which are equipped with a Bluetooth 5 interface for low energy consumption, reliably read all common 1-D and 2-D barcodes, even on reflective or differently coloured surfaces.

Read more...