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North Texas goes next-gen in managing water, energy and roads

Thanks to our warm climate – economically, culturally as well as meteorologically speaking – North Texas is the place to be. So much so that the North Texas population is expected to grow to nearly 17 million people by 2050.

That’s a lot of people watering lawns, turning on lights and driving on roads. So North Texas utilities are looking toward the future by innovating today, cleverly leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to keep our roads, energy and water flowing.

To make sure there’s enough water to go around, the North Texas Municipal Water District launched in partnership with Texas A&M Agrilife. Automated weather stations situated throughout the district feed all kinds of data to the website — including temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and solar radiation – which are used to calculate weekly irrigation recommendations and other useful information for homeowners.

But what if there’s too much water? During flood season, a team of Tarrant Regional Water District engineers use an extensive network of complex gauges to help minimize the impact of heavy rainfall on the Trinity River and surrounding areas. They also work with other organizations, such as the National Weather Service, to provide information to the public during emergency situations.

Controlling energy use is as important as water conservation, and we have an app for that.  Using technology developed right here in North Texas by EnTouch, Reliant and EnTouch are providing small- and medium-sized businesses with smart thermostats that increase efficiency and identify opportunities to reduce usage. Similarly, TXU provides its residential customers with smart meters and apps that allow convenient and remote regulation of their heating, air conditioning and appliances.

North Texans are always on the move, and the highways they’re driving are responding. Sensors embedded in the LBJ Express and the North Tarrant Express continuously process traffic data through a complex algorithm. By using sensors, drivers can pay a variable toll that allows them to use designated lanes at a speed of at least 50 miles per hour. The cost goes up or down depending on the number of people in the car.

“At the end of the day, keeping traffic moving better than before we built theses corridors creates a better quality of life and increased mobility, which creates economic development,” said Robert Hinkle, director of corporate affairs for North Texas Express Mobility Partners, “and that makes people happy.”

There’s so much more! Click here to read the full story in the latest issue of NTX Magazine.

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