UnifiedWater is an IoT empowered, smart water quality monitoring device enabling remote data collection and visualisation on a dashboard.

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UnifiedWater is an application that allows for the easy monitoring of water quality from anywhere in the world. The device is equipped with multiple sensors that together monitor the overall quality of the water. This data is then centralised in a database where it is visualised on a dashboard.

UnifiedWater is an affordable, mass producible, and open source end to end application which allows governments, private associations, and even individuals to take water quality readings and share them with the community, enabling data analysis and observations which can allow authorities to identify places that are being polluted (rivers, lakes, seas, oceans) and take appropriate action to ensure that the water is clean.

UnifiedWater operates in two modes: Enterprise mode is created for monitoring large water bodies with multiple fixed devices while Personal Mode allows a surveyor to take readings at different points along a water body with a single device.

Project Overview

Saying water pollution today is like shouting out climate change in a high school discourse and getting the looks of everyone bored to their bones of this flamboyant and controversial topic. I learned to look the other way to the guy missing the bin and never bothering to pick up their wrapper and the fumes ejected from factories wherever I go.

We, as humans, are great at hiding in our daily routines, not daring to peek outside, knowing what we are to find if we do. This keeps us going and forces us to look the other way when climate change, world hunger and water pollution are on the news.

But I, as a person, feel the obligation to help make the world a better place, to help us humans grow as a collective and help heal the wounds we inflicted on our world.

Ok, enough with the inspirational talk. Yearly, we dump over 3 million tonnes of trash into the world’s oceans – from companies dejecting their waste products to individuals blind to bins, we all contribute to this jaw-dropping number.

A staggering 80% of water pollution is directly or indirectly caused by humans, making pollution one of the greatest challenges our society has ever faced in its endless expansion.

Agricultural operations are the greatest polluter by far. As our population is growing, we need to feed more and more people. Supply cannot keep up with the demand without advances in fertilisers and antibiotics to ensure that our crops and animals can be produced at maximum capacity. The problem is that over 70% of agricultural waste ends up in oceans.

Hormones, antibiotics, salts, and other dangerous chemicals are ejected by farms daily through fertilisers, manure, and other waste products. These chemicals dramatically pollute the water and can alter or even disintegrate entire ecosystems.

Industrial operations also pose a great threat to the ecosystems in water bodies. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and other heavy chemicals can cause the water body dumped in, to change colour, turbidity or even temperature therefore having a dramatic impact on the ecosystem found there.

These chemicals can also cause algae to bloom out of control leading to dead zones in bodies of water – zones deprived of oxygen where life cannot be supported. It is estimated that there are about 400 dead zones in the world today.

Almost 33% of reef forming corals, sharks, and shark relatives, and 33% of marine mammals are threatened with extinction at present. At least 680 vertebrate species were driven to extinction by human actions since the 16th century, many of these marine species. The list goes on…

And this issue does affect us directly; over 250 million people die yearly due to diseases contracted by drinking dirty water such as cholera and typhus. That is 1 in 32 people (I had to double check that just to be sure). That is a scary figure.

So, what can be done? Well before we get into paper straws and country wide regulations, we need to identify the sources of pollution in streams, lakes and oceans and act on them before they get out of hand.

Water quality monitoring is a relatively new concept. Data collection is done in unstable environments, technologies are often proprietary, and the cost of operation is very high, bringing water quality monitoring out of the reach of even developed countries.

Existing solutions more often than not collect water samples to send to labs for inspection as opposed to collecting the data in the field. This takes longer and incapacitates live tracking of pollution. Modules that do collect data in the field are often large and bulky and lack flexibility, making it a pain to mount them and apply maintenance, on top of this, they often don’t collect sufficient and meaningful data.

But most importantly, they lack IoT connectivity. Devices that do send data to a central location often use proprietary technologies such as XBee and other radio communication methods which do not directly...

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Code Packaged. Consider using GitHub -

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Sensor Operation and Calibration.docx

Sensor Operation and Calibration Sheet

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Circuit Schematics

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Personal Mode Architecture.pdf

Architecture Diagram

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Low Power Mode Architecture.pdf

Architecture Diagram

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  • A TED Talk on the Importance of high quality water monitoring and analysis

    Andrei Florian10/09/2020 at 15:21 0 comments

    Hello everyone,

    I walk a lot to and from school and while I do so, I like losing myself in a podcast. Yesterday I was listening to TED talks daily on Spotify and to my surprise a TED talk directly related to the problem WaterAid aims to fix popped up.

    It talks about how water data should be collected and analysed the same way weather data is. It talks about the importance of data collection and analysis delving into some specifics. But it also talks about challenges faced in ambient water quality monitoring.

    Sonaar, the speaker, talks about how, many countries are only collecting water flow data as opposed to checking for impurities, pH, turbidity, etc. and how collecting this data alone is simply irrelevant in today's world, as well as the high expenses associated with quality data collection.

    I think the talk truly is an eye opener and I personally found it very interesting.

  • Project is written up

    Andrei Florian10/05/2020 at 06:26 0 comments

    Yay! It is 7:30 the next day. Took me a long while but I like my projects to tell a story and that takes time (and the compiler on Premiere Pro was fried for some reason and I had to export the video around 5 times). But I got everything done before the deadline, that's important.

    I guess this will be my last log for now, I'm going to sleep. Bye.

  • Pictures are taken

    Andrei Florian10/05/2020 at 06:23 0 comments

    A very stressful photoshoot because of the weather. Some things I guess can't be controlled. I had to mess with the lighting and colour in photoshop to make the photos look lively (because it was lashing rain and foggy).

  • Mockups are done!

    Andrei Florian10/04/2020 at 11:41 0 comments

    I just finished creating the mockups for the dashboard of the project! I also updated my profile so you can know more about me!

  • UnifiedWater is now Solar Powered!

    Andrei Florian09/30/2020 at 21:13 0 comments

    Yesterday I was tinkering with some components I bought a while ago and came across the Seeed Solar charger shield (or something like that). The shield connects to a solar panel and a LiPo battery - charging the battery with solar power and in turn powering the device. I got it connected to the MKR GSM to provide power to the device and it works perfectly! Now the project is more sustainable and can survive for as long as needed in the field without the need to recharge.

  • Finished the Dashboard

    Andrei Florian09/30/2020 at 21:10 0 comments

    Yes, the third log in a row, apologies again for this, but I did finish both the code and dashboard in the same day. So I used IoT central for the backend because it is so simple to set up while providing a reliable and industry grade experience, my personal favorite.

    Before I used to stream the data from IoT Hub into a DB and then into MS PowerBi, but the streaming would cause a lag (as PowerBi works on fetch). IoT Central visualizes the data as it is received allowing real time applications to be built. The water pH, temperatures, humidity and turbidity are collected and visualized live.

    The dashboard also allows the supervisor to edit settings such as the number of samples collected by the device as well as the intervals of time between data sends, sensor data collection and other features. Battery life is also visible!

  • The Code is Done!

    Andrei Florian09/30/2020 at 21:04 0 comments

    Finished coding the project today. I published it on GitHub but it's private at the moment, have to add the readMe and license (after I start writing the article for the project). I used the Arduino vs code extension to get the code done, it enables intellisense for c++ and honestly, it is such a pleasure to code as opposed to the Arduino IDE. It took me about 6 days to finish (something like 4 hours a day).

  • Started reworking the project

    Andrei Florian09/30/2020 at 20:59 0 comments

    Hi everyone!

    Sorry for writing late again (I should have posted this last week, but as I am new to Hackaday I completely forgot about the logs feature). I found out I got to the finals of the Hackaday Prize! I planned out remaking the project fully, I am rewriting the entire code, redoing the enclosure and further documenting the project. I will also be using Azure IoT Central as the backend for higher security and enterprise grade services.

    Stay tuned! I should publish the project by Sunday the 4th.

  • Log 8: Published the project on Hackaday

    Andrei Florian08/24/2020 at 13:34 0 comments

    The project was initially published on Hackster a while ago. I got contacted not too long ago by a Hackaday representative telling me about the Hackaday impact prize. It sounded very exciting so I decided to refactor the project a bit and publish it on Hackaday!

  • Log 7: Finished the dashboard design

    Andrei Florian08/24/2020 at 13:32 0 comments

    So I used a dashboard very similar to the final one when I went out to collect some data. In the final version, I added the email alerts so that if the pH or turbidity of a reading is abnormal, an email will be sent alerting this.

View all 17 project logs

  • 1
    Required Components

    Below is a copy of the BOM for the project. The complete BOM with links and costs in attached above in the article.

    • Arduino MKR GSM 1400
    • 3.7v 1,800mAh LiPo batter
    • GY-21 Temp and Humidity
    • Water pH Sensor
    • Water turbidity Sensor
    • Water temperature Sensor
    • Wires, breadboard, button
    • Neopixel ring
    • Hologram Sim
    • Solar panel module
    • Plastic for enclosure
  • 2
    Required Machinery

    Below is a list of all the machinery needed to hand build the enclosure for the project. Note that CAD files are attached of the enclosure if you prefer 3D printing it.

    • Bandsaw
    • Hot wire strip heater
    • Sander
  • 3
    Connecting the Circuit

    The diagram above shows the circuit of the project. Please follow it to connect all the modules together. Note that if you are not using the solar powered version, the LiPo battery is to be connected to the MKR GSM LiPo battery socket.

    If the solar shield is being used, please connect the solar panel and LiPo battery to corresponding ports on the shield and ensure it is turned on when operating the device. Connect pins as instructed below.

    Shield Pin

    MKR GSM Pin





View all 11 instructions

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Antoine Poirier wrote 11/20/2020 at 10:54 point

Hi Andrei,

Congrats for the idea and your prototype ! 

However I would know, how is your project different from the existing devices such as these from Libelium ? (

  Are you sure? yes | no

b.rupera wrote 11/19/2020 at 13:20 point

This is great idea and initiative. Could be very useful for my country (India).  
1. I didn't find it water tight/proof in video and pictures. In my view it would be great to have that feature.
2. I think we can reduce the cost by replacing 16 pixel neopixel ring  with LEDs (RED, AMBER AND GREEN), Arduino MKR GSM 1400 with NodeMCU and Free Wifi hotspot.

I will try to build it. Keep it up.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Mike Marek wrote 11/01/2020 at 17:37 point

the Hologram SIM link is incorrect - it goes to the NEOPixel Ring

  Are you sure? yes | no

Andrei Florian wrote 09/30/2020 at 20:54 point

hi, sorry for the terrifically late response, I swear I replied a while ago (maybe forgot to send it). Anyways, yes, all sensors can be submerged at all time if desired (in enterprise mode). I am completely revamping the project this week so stay tune...

  Are you sure? yes | no

salvim wrote 09/20/2020 at 20:11 point

Good design! One question: can the probe of the pH sensor be immersed in water all the time?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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