Cellular-Based Monitoring On San Juan IslandSource: Mission Communications
San Juan Island is a popular resort destination whose population fluctuates with the season and the arrival of Orca whales and salmon. To get to the island, you must first drive an hour north of Seattle to the city of Anacortes. From there, you take a two-hour ferry ride through a 130 island group to arrive at the 20 mile long San Juan Island, which is at the waterway entrance to Puget Sound.
Managing a Critical Supply with Limited Resources
Bob Charters is the President of the Cape San Juan Water District, which serves a small community on the south end of the scenic island. Their water comes from a fresh water lens floating on a salt water aquifer. Charters emphasized that “monitoring the water usage is critical, as over-pumping could allow salt water incursion into the fresh water lens and destroy the wells. We have three wells, two reservoirs and a water production facility on the remote southern tip of the island. Ensuring its good operation is, needless to say, very important.”
The utility had been sending people on a regular basis to check the facility, which entailed a two hour trip to a remote well house location. However, that put a substantial strain on the utility's limited part time personnel resources. “Watching that tank was wasting an hour or two a day” says Charters. The utility got proposals for automating the monitoring job with radio and phone line based systems. “The prices were, well, you don't want to know what the quotes were.”