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Central and Local Governments Jointly Launch 2020 Taiwan AI Water Alarm Network

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The “2020 Taiwan AI Water Alarm Network” launch event was held in Hsinchu City on 17 August 2020, featuring the official announcement of five types of water quality sensor components and three kinds of (fixed, mobile and handheld) water quality sensors. During the event, the EPA gave 400 sensors to 13 different city/county governments to jointly establish the water quality sensing IoT (Internet of Things) network in Taiwan. 

To overcome limitations of the traditional manual sampling method, the AI water alarm network deploys water quality sensors that monitor the pH value, conductivity, temperature and dissolved oxygen level in rivers or other water bodies every minute. The sensors are combined with a GPS system and artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor changes in water quality at different times and places. Through the network, the EPA aims to reach to goal of smart environmental enforcement, promote environmental education, and stimulate IoT applications across different industries.

During the trial period of the past four months, the water warning network detected 17 cases of abnormal activities in three different cities/counties. Two of the cases are under investigation by district prosecutor offices and their illegal gains are being confiscated. This shows how water quality sensors can be very useful for cracking down on unscrupulous enterprises and detecting pollution. The EPA has been working with 13 cities/counties to install water quality sensors in areas that are frequently reported or crowded with regulated factories, so as to expand the applications of IoT in law enforcement and implement 24-hour continuous monitoring. The network can detect targeted pollution and intelligently dispatch personnel to investigate and deal with it.

The EPA pointed out that in addition to smart environmental inspections, with the era of 5G upon us, the sensors can also be used by academia to promote environmental education, research on water body ecology or assist with other courses. The handheld water quality sensors developed by the EPA are inexpensive to manufacture, easy to use, and can be connected to mobile devices. They can also become useful tools to encourage river patrol squad members to participate in patrols, inspections, pollution reporting and debris cleaning, thus further enabling joint cooperation between government and the public for protection of water bodies.

Excerpt from Environmental Policy Monthly, 23 (9)

Ministry of Environment