Smart Water – What does it mean?
We were interested to see the 2014 State of the Water Industry (SOTWI) report recently released by the AWWA (http://awwa.org). As people who work on the cutting edge of rapidly changing technology, trends and issues influence the practices and strategies we use to best serve the industry. SOTWI notes that on a scale of 1 to 7, the overall “health” of the industry went up slightly this past year (to 4.6 from 4.5), but the key issues remain – infrastructure condition, financing, public understanding, and regulatory compliance among the top ones. It mentions that the industry faces large scale changes in several areas – and cites technology as one of them. Eramosa knows that technology can help, when it is focused on addressing long-term issues, along with performing its day to day roles.
We know it is important to see where you stand in relation to your peers, but we believe it’s more important to know where you stand – where you are going, if you can get there, how long it will take, what it will cost, and if the path you are on is the one to stay on for the long run.
Eramosa knows the state of technology. We talk about it in venues across North America. We address how to deploy it to prepare for the future, while responding to the issues of today.
SCADA is a critical tool for addressing these issues, but it must be planned properly, and include monitoring of data that normally hasn’t been considered by designers of the treatment process. Data that gives insight to managing assets better, that directs maintenance to the areas of greatest need, that enables justifiable budgets for operating and capital expenses – all can be enabled by effectively designed SCADA systems. These needs must be implemented intelligently, to meet these objectives, and to get the best return on every investment.
To deal with these pressing issues, Eramosa has a vision for SMART water agencies – Sustainable, Manageable, Agile, Robust, and Trusted. Sustainable means keeping the right balance between what you need and what you have – and knowing what the true facts are about each of those sides of the scale. Manageable means you have the all performance metrics you should on your dashboard, and they show you results and trends, alerts and indicators, summaries and specifics. Agile means you have the ability to quickly change direction to avoid impending problems, and that you can do it within timeframes that save money and deflect problems. Robust means effectively responding to emergencies, of any sort, maintaining continuity of operations, and keeping customers served safely. Trusted means you have the facts that explain and justify your actions, and that you share them with those who need to know, in a collaborative environment that builds strong and cooperative teams.
Each of these qualities is better achieved through the effective application of SCADA technology, and its use in best practices. Getting the most out of assets, improving efficiencies, collaborating across the organization, building public confidence, remaining secure, being responsive, and getting the most out of every dollar and hour spent are truly enabled by good SCADA designs, strategies, standards, and implementations.
What do you think are the most critical issues our industry faces? Do you feel you are using SCADA to its fullest capability to address them? Want to hear more about Eramosa’s vision for a SMART water utility? We are eager to hear your comments.