WSWSC Moving into the 21st Century!

Good Afternoon Water Customers:

The WSWSC is constantly looking for ways to improve our service, whether that means drilling new wells, maintaining our infrastructure, improving customer service, or maximizing our operational efficiency.  Over the past year, we have made strides in all of these areas and today we are pleased to announce a new system that will improve real-time monitoring of our water infrastructure. This will bring our operations into the 21st Century and improve our efficiency substantially.

As you can imagine, technology for monitoring and controlling water infrastructure systems has gone through some dramatic changes in the last 20 years.  Rather than using manpower, switches, and relays to control systems, operators are able to utilize computer modules using a system technology called SCADA.  What is a SCADA system?  SCADA stands for Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.  These systems allow for control of mechanical devices, such as a pumps or valves, while also being able to monitor those devices all via computer. These systems have become the new standard.

Over the past year, WSWSC has worked with a company named TraC-n-trol to implement a SCADA system for our water system.  One small example of how we are using the new SCADA technology is to monitor our water tank level.  Previously, monitoring was done with manpower, mechanical monitoring, and switches at the pumps.  If the water tank was low a pump was turned on at the well to fill it.  When it was full, that pump was turned off via a mechanical switch.  This process worked fine but was subject to mechanical breakdown and was not easily monitored.  With the new technology, tank depths are monitored very accurately using sound wave technology and the commands to start and stop pumping at the well are issued by computer.

What does our SCADA system look like? Click to enlarge this screen shot:

Anything shown on this screen can be monitored or controlled. This helps us in many ways:

  • We can find system issues, like leaks, much more quickly. Alarms can be customized to tell us when certain conditions are met, such as too much water flowing to one of the loops which might indicate a leak.
  • PGMS can more quickly modify settings and react to emerging issues. We don’t need to wait for Mark to drive over the pass to start handling an issue!
  • We can better understand how different components of the system work together.
  • We can more efficiently use our pumps and prevent breakdowns by rotating usage of those we use in the wells, those used for pressurizing the water, and those used to pump water to the large storage tank.

It will take time to optimize every aspect of this new technology; however, it is easy to see how it positions WSWSC for growth in our community. It will help the WSWSC better serve our customers, like you.  Please feel free to reach out to team@wswsc.org with any questions about SCADA or anything else water related.