Milwaukee Based Groundwater Technology Start-up Growing Nationally:
"Our data are sparse; our models are incomplete; but, we must decide”
So began the keynote of the 2016 National Groundwater Association Groundwater Summit. Ty Ferré, Ph.D., professor of Hydrology and Water Resources at University of Arizona, summing up the problem perplexing groundwater scientists and stakeholders worldwide. It is the problem that Wellntel, a Wisconsin-based groundwater technology start-up, is working to solve.
WGWA last heard from Wellntel at the Annual Meeting in Spring 2015. Marian Singer, CoFounder, shared Wellntel’s new groundwater level information system vision. The system is built on a simple but powerful idea - a sensor installed at the wellhead, taking continuous static, and as needed, pumping level readings, pushing those readings to a secure, cloud-based analytics and calibration engine. System owners can login, watch their groundwater resource trends, set alerts and decide whether to share the data with a trusted servicer, their local/state groundwater agency or not at all.
Since commercial launch in July 2015, the company has deployed more than 300 systems, nationwide and gathered nearly 2 million groundwater readings. While many of those systems are on private residential and agriculture wells, an increasing number make up are in networks sponsored by local, regional, state and federal agencies as well as private businesses. With accuracy comparable to scientific level loggers and pressure transducers, Wellntel’s consumer price point, ease-of-use, and continuous, connected cloud interface are driving new installations and transforming existing monitoring networks.
In Wisconsin, Wellntel has been deployed 14 counties across the state. For example, in northwestern Wisconsin, volunteers and agency sponsors including the USGS, WGNHS and the Wisconsin DNR in three counties have come together to create a long term, low cost, low maintenance monitoring system. Wellntel systems are installed at town halls and on private domestic and agricultural wells. The project goal is to use Wellntel data to establish a groundwater baseline, understand long term trends and inform local water management decisions.
Since Wellntel is non-invasive and doesn’t touch water, sensors can be deployed by consultants, researchers and agencies not only on public monitoring wells but also private volunteer wells. This has a two fold benefit: researchers can inexpensively leverage existing individuals who volunteer their private water well assets to create new data points. A second benefit is the creation of social capital. Each owner in these new networks has a Wellntel account, can see and learn from their new groundwater and well water insights, learn about their water resources, understand their own impact and use the data as a springboard to new conversions, with their families, neighbors and city councils.
Wellntel’s data is cloud-based, cutting the time to collect, calibrate and prep data for analysis by 80-90% over traditional continuous monitoring options. This extends existing budgets by reducing manpower needed for data preparation, frees up capital to expand location and study reach, and focuses time and energy toward improving groundwater models and supporting better local groundwater decision-making.
Wellntel is starting a groundwater information revolution. New, never-before seen insights from Wellntel will close the data gap Ty Ferré, Ph.D.opined in his NGWA Summit keynote, but also help enlist groundwater stewards everywhere. If you’d like to join them, contact Marian Singer to schedule a call or a visit at at firstname.lastname@example.org or (414)416-6281.