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February 8, 2023

Yorkshire Water taps BT for 4G IoT connectivity in the Dales

The additional coverage will enable the water company to remotely monitor quality using smart sensors.

By Sophia Waterfield

Utility companies are continuing to make investments in the mobile broadband space, with Yorkshire Water joining up with BT to provide a new 4G network mast in the Yorkshire Dales. The new mast, provided by BT’s EE mobile network, will also offer connectivity to 1,000 local businesses and residents.

The Scar House reservoir in Nidderdale, Yorkshire Dales, UK, managed by Yorkshire Water.
The Scar House reservoir will be at the heart of the Yorkshire Water and BT project. (Photo courtesy of Yorkshire Water)

Situated in Nidderdale, which is an area of natural beauty, the 4G mobile mast will power smart sensors that will help Yorkshire Water monitor and improve water quality in the Scar House reservoir. The company says that the innovative “state-of-the-art” monitors have been installed on water courses feeding the reservoir.

Managing water at the source is considered a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly way compared to “end of pipe” treatment solutions, says Yorkshire Water. The real-time monitoring of the moorland water will allow the company to save millions on a previously planned new treatment process within its treatment works.

This isn’t the first time the utility company has made a move into the world of broadband. In April 2022, Yorkshire Water began a trial project in the North of England aiming to deliver gigabit broadband connections to rural areas by putting fibre optic cables through its water pipes.

4G connectivity and data will improve the quality of water sources

According to Yorkshire Water, the smart sensors will transmit data via the installed EE 4G mast for scientists and engineers to work proactivity in selecting the best available water sources for transfer to its water treatment works. It says that weather, temperature and the condition of the Nidderdale moorland can impact the quality of the water sources, as these factors can influence the amount of peat – partially decomposed plant material – found in the water.

Image of a 4G mast with a sign saying "Yorkshire Water" and BT Means Business."
The partnership between Yorkshire Water and BT could help reduce the utility company’s carbon emissions. (Photo courtesy of Yorkshire Water)

By monitoring peat levels in the water, Yorkshire Water can reduce its footprint and reduce carbon emissions – the better the water quality the less energy it takes to process the water at treatment works.

Project will reduce costs for Yorkshire Water customers

Ted Rycroft, product and process manager at Yorkshire Water, said that using the smart monitors will bring efficiency and cost-effectiveness to consumers: “Water coming out of customers’ taps will continue to be the high quality that it always has been – the key change here is that the water coming into the treatment works will be of higher quality, and therefore require less treatment,” he explained.

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“That helps us to keep costs down for our customers and our operational emissions to a minimum while maintaining our high standards of water quality.”

BT’s managing director for corporate and public sector, Ashish Gupta, added that the project is a “perfect example” of using tech to work smarter for local communities and the environment.

“The benefits of this are huge: from improving the water quality to cutting emissions,” he explained. “Another major benefit is the EE mast we’re using to send sensor data securely over the network is also providing 4G mobile coverage for residents.” 

Read more: New laws on connected IoT device security coming to the UK

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