By the time most people realise that their tanks have run empty, it’s often too late to do anything about it. Purchasing tank water refills at short notice can be extremely expensive, and you can be waiting 2-3 weeks in peak seasons. Monitoring tank levels and detecting leaks is vitally important for tank water households and even life threatening for farm animals.
There are many different approaches to monitoring water levels, some more manual than others. The old school approach of daily water runs can be extremely labour intensive and inefficient. Sending a worker around to check each tank and trough either on foot, bike or truck can take hours out of their day. It may seem ridiculous when you add up the time and fuel spent daily, but it can be very worthwhile when you spot leaks early on.
Some people also use the old ball and float level indicators, effectively a flag that sticks up out the top of the tank to show how much water is in the tank. These indicator flags can be purchased from most fam stores and can be installed yourself. This tank monitoring solution can be used to reduce water runs if the tanks are close to the road or easily seen from your house. The main downfall of indicator flags is their fragility. If the tank is full (the flag is sticking 3m up in the air) and a decent gust of wind blows past, flags can often snap in the middle or bend and get stuck - and they're not cheap to replace. Similar to water runs, when you see that your tank is empty, it is often too late and you will be waiting for days or weeks to make up for the water lost.
The next step up is electronic water level gauges that use a pressure cable in the tank and report back to a simple LCD screen. These will use either Bluetooth or nearby wifi networks and can send water tank levels from point to point (line of sight). These can work well if your tanks are within close proximity to your house/shed and you only need simple tank level information. For tanks further away from the house, a network of extenders will need to be installed which gets very complicated and expensive.
The limitations of these are that you are only able to monitor tanks from where the LCD screen is installed and they often present limited data (eg that the tank is ¼ or ½ full). Simple tank level gauges generally use small solar panels which is great for tanks that don’t have a power source. Between the pressure cable, the solar panel and aerial extenders, there are many moving parts that are prone to failure and degrade over time. Cheap tank gauges have an expected lifespan of 1-3 years.
More modern tank level monitors use radar or ultrasonic sensors to accurately record water levels and track changes. Water levels from many tanks can be reported back to a single dashboard, usually a mobile app or wesbite, where entire schemes can be monitored and managed. Some solutions will also have software integration options for larger scale projects.
These monitors can be easily installed by the user on a variety of tanks and calibrated to suit. They can also be used on remote tanks using the cellular network or satellite to send data to the user from anywhere in the world. Low level and leak detection alarms can be turned on to notify users when issues arise.
Modern tank monitors will use either long life batteries or solar panels as a power source so they can be used in remote locations. Most will also provide data export options so you can track seasonal trends, provide consent compliance and plan more efficient water use.
Selecting an appropriate tank monitoring system will depend largely on the budget for your project, location of the tanks and intended outcomes. Installing the latest technology is the best way to future-proof your farm, increase productivity and reduce costs.
Subscription is $11.50 per month, paid annually. This includes Spark/Vodafone connectivity.
The Waterwatch tank monitor uses groundbreaking radar technology to accurately monitor liquid storage levels. Using built-in cellular connectivity, the sensor transmits tank levels to the cloud so you can check your tank levels from anywhere!
Download the Waterwatch Mobile app from the App Store or Google Play for easy setup and access to your tank levels.
Connectivity Options: If you have Spark or Vodafone 4G coverage at the site of installation, please select the appropriate network. If you do not have cell phone reception, please contact us for our long-range coverage options firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently shipping to NZ only.