Singapore wants drones to watch over its water reservoirs

Singapore’s national water agency, PUB, has figured out that it can save about 5,000 manhours every year by deploying drones to conduct monitoring activities at six water reservoirs spread across the nation.

So, starting next week, Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drones will take over the skies to observe water quality and monitor water activities at six of Singapore’s 17 reservoirs.

At present, PUB ground crews conduct daily patrols at the six reservoirs, during which they keep an eye out for excessive growth of aquatic plants and algal blooms – things that could affect the water quality. At the same time, these crews also collect data on water activities, such as fishing, to make sure that they are being conducted safely and legally. Annually, the agency estimates, 7,200 manhours are spent on these patrols.

But if the job is delegated to long-range drones equipped with rem​ote sensing systems and a camera for near real-time video analytics, PUB staff will be…