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I live in an small community which have a "rural" aqueduct, and I would like to improve it. Currently, it is just a pipe from the river to a tank, and a 2" pipe down the mountain and 1/2" pipes to each house. In summer time, when water starts to fail, they close the main valve in order to allow the tank to fill, and then open again for some time. But due to the lack of some kind of control, when the main valve is open, the only houses that receive water for a long time are the ones that are at the lowest height, the ones that are higher receive water for a short period of time, and sometimes doesn't receive anything at all.
Anyway, here are my ideas:
My "normal" idea: I think that if I add some valves at different heights and adjust them correctly, I can get an improvement in the fairness of water distribution.
Now, my geek idea (sorry, it can't be helped, I'm a geek): I have also thought about adding volumetric flow meters to each house, and have an automatic cut-off valve, centrally controlled, to cut the water when the house have consumed it's daily quota.
The system could be implemented using a ZigBee mesh (geek), or an RS-485 network (not so geek) and some hardware that is not so expensive (around US$20-US$30 electronics per device), but if you add each of the about 500 houses, then you have big bucks, I can go with the electronic design and building myself, but I don't have enough knowledge as to choose valves, flow meters, and that kind of stuff.
My geek solution can lead to a "never-ending" supply of water to the houses that save water, but can probe to be expensive, even by building the system myself.
I would appreciate any suggestion on how to improve a water distribution system. (yes, even the fun ones). Also, any opinion on my normal and geek idea, is also welcome.
Thanks in advance,
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