Continuous real-time monitoring of drinking water throughout the water distribution system has not previously been feasible because of the high cost and low reliability of sensors. New miniaturized (micron-scale) sensors can provide reliable results in laboratory conditions but cannot withstand the high pressures of drinking water systems. Researchers at UBC have used 3D printing to create a conduit with embedded miniaturized sensors that is robust to operational conditions by controlling the flow rate over the pH, temperature and conductivity sensors. While this example is for drinking water supplies, it is an excellent example of how quickly newly emergent technologies can lead to solutions for monitoring problems. It surely won’t be long before miniaturized sensors change the way water is monitored and how we even conceive of water monitoring networks.

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