SCADA Control: ULB initiatives for water network management

ULB initiatives for water network management

The Central Water Commission suggests that India is not a water-scarce country. It has a water resource potential of 1,869 billion cubic metres. However, more than 40 per cent of the water produced in many cities is wasted before reaching the final consumer due to leaks or thefts. Thus, reducing water losses, and maintaining water quality and adequate supply is very important for the efficiency and financial sustainability of water utilities across Indian cities. The current water scenario demands the optimistation of water resources and integrated comprehensive solutions to build a modern and real-time water management system in the country.

In order to better manage the existing water distribution network and infrastructure, and streamline the management process, urban local bodies (ULBs) are incorporating technologies such as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems into their day-to-day operations. ULBs across the country are introducing online portals for civic services, and deploying advanced treatment technologies for water monitoring and maintenance. SCADA systems have already been adopted in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Ahmedabad.

The SCADA system enables the remote monitoring of the water distribution system and its various process parameters such as water quality (pH, turbidity and residual chlorine), process variables (flow level and pressure) and control elements (electric actuators for valves). The data and process variables are assimilated at the SCADA-based master control station for analysis. This helps in managing the issues of inequitable water distribution and reducing the number of complaints.

Smart Utilities takes a look at the initiatives taken by ULBs to deploy SCADA for water network management…

In order to undertake complete water audits of large networks, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) is using a SCADA system for flow monitoring and control. DJB installed the country’s first SCADA system to monitor and control water distribution with water-controlled valves at 13 local control points. The utility has decided to set up a state-of-the-art real-time monitoring system as part of the city’s water supply infrastructure to ensure the proper functioning of water treatment plants. The SCADA system provides details such as pressure and flow of water at important locations in the city’s water supply system. DJB is planning to install about 3,200 flow meters for water auditing of primary and secondary systems up to the district metered area level. At present, nearly 3,192 flowmeters have been installed and are being integrated with SCADA.

The Ahmedabad Smart City has installed a SCADA system for real-time monitoring of three water treatment plants and 148 water distribution stations. The solution has helped the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation save approximately Rs 60 million annually. Besides, it has helped in utilising 23 million litres per day (mld) of water that was earlier being wasted. The project has been implemented by Chetas Control Systems Private Limited, Pune.

Bengaluru too has been using a SCADA system for its water network for several years. It monitors data from the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board’s (BWSSB) water supply facilities, such as pumping stations, water and wastewater treatment plants and reservoirs. Based on the data collected, BWSSB optimises the supply of water to the city and improves the operating efficiency of its facilities. Meanwhile, Bhopal Smart City Development Limited has undertaken an initiative to install a technology-enabled SCADA system as part of the comprehensive Bhopal city water utility SCADA management project. An automated SCADA system for monitoring water treatment plants and overhead tanks has been implemented as part of the project for optimal utilisation of water resources.

Initially, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) had installed a SCADA system at six newly built sewage treatment plants (STPs) – Chinchwad Phase II (30 mld), Ravet (20 mld), Akurdi (30 mld), Dapodi (20 mld) and Charholi (21 mld). Later, the coverage of the system was expanded and all old STPs were brought within its ambit. A master control room was set up with engineering and operator stations. Besides, a viewing station was established at PCMC’s head office for continuous monitoring and control. Meanwhile, an online information system has been installed for generating daily and monthly reports for supervisory control. The SCADA system installed by PCMC enables the corporation to monitor the water levels, the amount of treated sewage, the quality of treatment, dissolved oxygen level, chemical oxygen demand and other aspects of STPs. SCADA systems have also been installed for the existing 23 sewage pumping stations and six STPs in Surat. The systems help the corporation in online data monitoring and controlling, advanced planning for predictive maintenance, energy efficiency improvement and reduction of maintenance costs.

In Naya Raipur, a computerised water billing software (PLC-SCADA mode) has been deployed for accurate measurement, billing and collection of water charges. Further, at the water intake level (from the river), the water pumping system has been automated to generate real-time data on the number of charges of pumps, pressure applied, and the flow of water. This helps understand the amount of water pumped from the river every day. The deployment of the SCADA system has increased the transparency in water usage and allocation. It has also increased water conservation by about 20 per cent. Moreover, it has improved accountability within the city administration through real-time assessment, planning and management of water.

In a bid to minimise the water losses, Nashik Municipal Smart City Development Corporation Limited plans to implement SCADA and automatic meter reading/advanced metering infrastructure meters in the city. Under this, the water supply will be monitored from the start point (water treatment plant) to the end point (consumers).

Karnataka’s Koppal district is also implementing digital water management solutions. The project is being led by L&T Construction for the Karnataka government, and will use ABB’s end-to-end solutions to help the local water authority track, measure and optimise water use in the district. The solution includes deploying 635 flowmeters and a SCADA system to monitor and analyse daily flow consumption patterns. It will also identify possible leaks and notify the central control room on a real-time basis.

The Okhla STP is being developed as an integrated plant that will not only treat sewage but will also have a complete sludge management facility. The plant will have the largest ultraviolet disinfectant system in the country for the removal of feacal coliform from water. It will be fully automated with a SCADA system. The Bhandewadi STP will deploy SCADA for carrying out operation and maintenance activities. The chambers, treatment units, flow regulation and valves will all be controlled through SCADA.

The road ahead

The rampant population growth and declining freshwater resources in India have led ULBs to enhance the adoption of innovative technologies and improve service delivery mechanisms. Reducing water losses, and maintaining water quality and adequate supply are important for improving the efficiency and financial sustainability of the water utilities in the country and around the globe. Going forward, there is a need to develop smart water networks so that the economy can thrive on available resources. All technologies and solutions should be focused on the environment, society and governance for a smarter and more sustainable tomorrow. Remote monitoring and control technologies like SCADA should be used to not only conserve and maintain the quality of water, but also to create a sustainable and scalable water economy for water utilities.