Municipalities Can Lessen Hurricane Damage with Real-time Access to Data

With 13 named tropical storms and hurricanes since April, this year is shaping up to be one of the most damaging hurricane seasons on record. One of the biggest hurdles after such major weather events is making sure the affected areas are habitable and safe for people to return. More specifically, local authorities need to make drinkable water available to all citizens, and they need to eliminate or contain toxic wastewater. 
In times of crises, the best thing municipalities can do to effectively manage their water supply and mitigate damage is have real-time data reporting and open communication. But how?
A silver lining to hurricane season is that each weather event presents an opportunity to learn and prepare for the next one. The Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network, or WARN, is a program to help utilities share resources with each other in emergency situations. Municipalities or city water management departments who subscribe to their state’s WARN program abide by an agreement that clarifies liability, reimbursement, response procedures, and joint planning efforts. Having a set plan in place before disaster strikes allows municipalities to prepare accordingly, so that precious time, energy, money, and resources can be more effectively deployed rather than get lost in uncertainty and bureaucracy. 
In a modern town or city infrastructure, it’s absolutely necessary to communicate system data, repair plans, and monitor water levels, system breaches, and other potential and dangerous issues. 
That’s where a SCADA system for all utilities is imperative to cities and municipalities. SCADA, which stands for “supervisory control and data acquisition,” is a category of software application program or process control that gathers data in real time from remote locations in order to control equipment and conditions. SCADA solutions allow workers to manage, monitor, and assess the levels and output of the utility systems in real time, thus enabling them to make decisions immediately when something happens. 
Furthermore, a cloud-based SCADA solution is even more integral to quick response and mitigating damage. If a storm knocks out the central pumping station, access to the data would be lost if it wasn’t securely housed in a cloud-system, allowing digital access from anywhere in the world. Instead of relying on physical units located in the areas affected, the water management department still has access to the information and can implement repairs immediately. 
This year’s gauntlet of storms will bring years of damage and devastation. With a WARN system and a reliable way to access data—like cloud-based SCADA—municipalities, cities, responders, and plants can prepare accordingly and act efficiently and quickly. When the unknown strikes, the best defense is a good offense.