Title:
Underground water resource monitoring and management system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An underground water resource monitoring and management system is described. The station is a complete hydrological and weather station and/or network capable of measuring, analyzing, storing and/or transmitting hundreds of parameters, such as but not limited to, quality and/or quantity of water and surroundings, and weather factors (e.g., rain, wind, etc), or any combination thereof.



Inventors:
Yekutiely, Barak (Teaneck, NJ, US)
Yekutiely, David (Ramat HaSharon, IL)
Application Number:
11/066170
Publication Date:
09/01/2005
Filing Date:
02/28/2005
Assignee:
YEKUTIELY BARAK
YEKUTIELY DAVID
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
340/568.1, 340/603, 340/853.1, 340/539.13
International Classes:
E21B47/10; G01V9/02; (IPC1-7): E21B47/10
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
PHAM, TOAN NGOC
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DEKEL PATENT LTD., DAVID KLEIN (REHOVOT, IL)
Claims:
1. A system comprising: an underground water resource monitoring and management system, comprising instrumentation buried underneath a ground surface for measuring groundwater levels in wells; and a controller in communication with said instrumentation and adapted to process measured groundwater levels.

2. The systems according to claim 1, wherein said instrumentation comprises at least one of a seismic sensor, a temperature sensor, a water level sensor, an electrical property sensor, a thermal conductivity sensor and a sensor for measuring physical properties of water.

3. The systems according to claim 1, wherein said instrumentation and said controller are packaged in a casing capable of surviving underground for very long periods of time.

4. The systems according to claim 1, further comprising a battery pack for powering said instrumentation and said controller.

5. The systems according to claim 1, further comprising a wireless data transmission link for communicating to an external station.

6. The systems according to claim 1, wherein said instrumentation and said controller are packaged in a lockable chamber openable via a wireless and secure signal from an authorized source.

7. The systems according to claim 1, further comprising an alarm adapted to send an alarm upon sensing an attempt to tamper with said system.

8. The systems according to claim 1, further comprising a GPS sensor for locating said system.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to water resource monitoring and management systems, and particularly to an underground water resource monitoring and management system.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Measurements of groundwater levels from wells may be used to observe the effects of hydrologic stresses on an aquifer, and to monitor responses to climate and groundwater development. Groundwater-level data may be used to quantify aquifer recharge, as a calibration tool for ground-water models, and to support water-quality investigations. Groundwater levels can be measured continuously or periodically. The groundwater-level data may be sent to a central location for processing real-time groundwater conditions. The processed data may be stored and/or displayed. The groundwater-level data may be transmitted by any kind of communications, such as but not limited to, land-line telephone, cellular telephone, land-based radio frequency (RF) technology, satellite telemetry, or a combination of these technologies. For example, satellite telemetry is the most common method used for real-time data transmission within the US Geological Survey (USGS), quoting from the USGS Fact Sheet 090-01, December 2001.

However, prior art groundwater level monitoring systems have some problems. For example, they are prone to vandalism. They also may have power consumption problems. Some use solar panels to solve the power consumption problem, but these are susceptible to vandalism, environmental conditions, regulatory and safety conditions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention seeks to provide an improved water resource monitoring and management system, as is described more in detail hereinbelow. The system is efficient, reliable and low cost, and solves the abovementioned problems of the prior art.

There is thus provided in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention a system including an underground water resource monitoring and management system, including instrumentation buried underneath a ground surface for measuring groundwater levels in wells, and a controller in communication with the instrumentation and adapted to process measured groundwater levels.

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention the instrumentation includes at least one of a seismic sensor, a temperature sensor, a water level sensor, an electrical property sensor, a thermal conductivity sensor and a sensor for measuring physical properties of water.

Further in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention the instrumentation and the controller are packaged in a casing capable of surviving underground for very long periods of time. A battery pack may be provided for powering the instrumentation and the controller. A wireless data transmission link may be provided for communicating to an external station. The instrumentation and the controller may be packaged in a lockable chamber openable via a wireless and secure signal from an authorized source. An alarm may be adapted to send an alarm upon sensing an attempt to tamper with the system. A GPS sensor may be provided for locating the system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a “clear horizon” environmental station is provided, which may include instrumentation for measuring groundwater levels in wells, and many more features as is described further below, for providing a complete water resource monitoring and management system. The environmental station is called clear horizon because it is underground.

The environmental station is a complete hydrological and weather station and/or network capable of measuring, analyzing, storing and/or transmitting hundreds of parameters, such as but not limited to, quality and/or quantity of water and surroundings, and weather factors (e.g., rain, wind, etc), or any combination thereof.

The environmental station may be equipped with one or more kinds of sensors for sensing not just water level, but also properties of the water (e.g., salinity, electrical or thermal conductivity, pH, temperature, pressure, etc.) and environmental factors and properties. Examples of some of these sensors are described in U.S. published patent application 20030010112 to Yekutiely et al., the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference, which describes, among other things, control circuitry that includes various environmental sensors, such as but not limited to, seismic sensors, temperature sensors and humidity sensors, whose sensed data may be processed and transmitted by a controller for water level measurement, service and/or diagnostics, for example.

As mentioned above, the environmental station may be buried underground at any desired depth. By being buried underground, the station provides security means for protection against criminal or terrorist activities (e.g., contamination). The environmental station may comprise sensors and control electronics in a “black box” casing made of plastic or metal with a finish capable of surviving underground for very long periods of time. The system thus comprises a low cost underground container/chamber, which is hidden and invisible to persons above ground and which is protected and locked from the environment and would-be vandals.

The system may be self-powered, such as by means of a battery pack or battery pack in conjunction with alternative energy means (e.g., a flywheel), which can operate the system for 20+ years at high reliability. There is no need for protruding solar panels (normally susceptible to vandalism, environmental conditions, regulatory and safety conditions). The system may communicate with a data center or field personnel by means of wireless data transmission upload/download (e.g., cellular or satellite).

The system may have self-embedded security means. For example, the system may comprise a lockable chamber that can be opened only internally via a wireless and secure signal from authorized source. Tampering (such as moving the whole chamber or tampering with the top) may trigger an alarm sent wirelessly to the data center and/or field personnel.

Each station may be mapped and located using GPS for maintenance/checkup, etc. The complete station and its equipment can be brought up to the surface for maintenance purposes, such as by means of a spring-loaded mechanism or pneumatic, hydraulic or electromechanical powered lifting mechanism.

The system may typically operate first in a standby mode, wherein no power is consumed except possibly for a timer for turning the station on at a preset interval (once every x minutes, days, etc.), or for a low power wireless channel for turning the station on remotely, and for carrying out and storing measurements that are necessary during the standby mode. In a power mode, the system may perform measurements and transmit the data wirelessly, and then revert back to the standby mode.