By Johan Potgietersoftware leader: Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric

In a time when the consistent provision of water, hampered by challenges like aging infrastructure, has become paramount, technology and more specifically telemetry has stepped to the fore to offer workable solutions to utilities and water infrastructure operators.

Moreover, water resources, water and wastewater network systems are constantly challenged by emerging regulations, rapid technology change and industrial shifts. Telemetry solutions can address the above with a focus on three key water sub-segments: water resources; water networks and wastewater networks.

A complete, integrated sensor-to-enterprise solution that will go beyond addressing the most challenging remote monitoring and control applications and help utilities and operations manage and run secure and reliable water infrastructure.

Eight reasons for choosing telemetry solutions for your water and wastewater applications

  1. Data insight –by utilising the distributed network protocol (DNP 3) on as part of a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system pack and smart RTU (remote terminal unit), changes in the system can be detected, stored, and timestamped.  The RTU can even report critical data to the cloud-based SCADA system.
  2. Optimised Telemetry Management – A telemetry system will allow organisations to customise their equipment according to specific requirements.  By using a SCADA smart RTUs solution and cloud-based SCADA software, uUtilities for example, can manage their field assets, including configurations, applications and firmware, from one interface.
  3. Data Safety – If communication at a remote site fails, operators can rest assured their data is safe, time-stamped and stored locally in the RTU. Once the communication link is restored, the cloud-based SCADA software will automatically load all the data generated during the outage into the historian using data backfilling.
  4. Reduce the number of site visits – changes to programs and configuration can be made from the cloud-based SCADA system.  The logic file can simply be loaded to the remote SCADA software and sent to the smart RTU using the DNP3 network.
  5. Increase the lifespan of the telemetry system – utilise standards that are widely used and accepted such as DNP3 (level 4), WITS1 (worldwide industrial telemetry standard) and IEC60870- 5-101/-104.
  6. Secure the telemetry system. When managing water systems, it’s critical that security options and network tools protect the telemetry system.  A smart RU RTU and DNP 3 protocol offer in-depth defence such as secure authentication and encryption.
  7. Flexible and intelligent.  As a Utility’s or operator’s needs grow, a cloud-based SCADA system can adapt and offer support to up one million end points.
  8. Distribution solutions.  Today there are robust water solutions available that are fully configurable and offer standardised controls that allow users to optimise their water networks, reduce training and spare equipment while gaining visibility into their network performance.

The bottom line

A fully integrated remote SCADA solution for water and wastewater networks offer:

  • Reduced operating expense by:
    • Less on-site visits.
    • Increased monitoring area.
  • Optimised maintenance efforts with integrated features to support operators and maintenance staff.
  • Complete and centralised management of controllers, wireless communications, and data logging functions.
  • Complete historical record with industry standard and open protocols to support data analytics.