In a world of increasing water scarcity — look no farther than California, which just enacted mandatory water restrictions for the first time in the state’s history — there’s no shortage of research on the next generation of water sensors that are meant to detect impurities.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is no exception: The school has no fewer than five research teams testing sensors inside everything from wastewater channels to lake buoys. Now it appears one or possibly two of those UWM projects could go to the next level and reap potential payoffs in the form of early-warning water-monitoring products, with potential applications from California to China.

“These are very early-stage developments that we’re willing to make a bet on,” said Bob Heideman, chief technology officer at A.O. Smith Corp., a Brown Deer water technology company with global markets and operations.

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