Drive Operational Efficiency with Water and Wastewater Digitization
Any organization with a long history is bound to resist change. Most municipal water systems have been in place for decades, and many of their processes reflect the technology of earlier periods. They may still use paper requisition forms or manually log system information into spreadsheets. Inefficient processes increase costs and are prone to human error. As water utilities deal with aging infrastructure and demands for greater operational efficiency, they must look for solutions that will serve them in the years ahead. Digitization will play a key role in improving water treatment plant performance.
The Benefits of Rapid Digitization
Digitizing data collection brings several benefits to water utilities. They will experience streamlined data collection that’ll empower a nuanced approach to system management.
Real-Time Data Collection
Water system conditions change according to the ebb and flow of usage throughout the day. Unexpected changes in one zone can impact the entire system. Sensors installed throughout the pipeline can provide real-time performance data. Older data collection models produced a snapshot of how the system was in a given moment. Sensor-driven digitization delivers a constant stream of performance information.
When the first sign of a failing pipe is a complete breakdown, it leads to expensive repairs and service disruptions. Access to performance data allows the organization to see small changes that indicate problems. Instead of responding to emergencies, repair crews will proactively strengthen the system.
Faster Response Times
With older monitoring methods, equipment problems took time to register. In a digital system, automatic alerts signal the need for immediate action, shortening the time between an incident and its resolution.
A Centralized Approach to Water Utility Management Software
Utilities often purchase water and wastewater software as needs arise. Developers built older platforms as standalone software that did not interact with the digital ecosystem. Newer digital models use a centralized approach to data storage, allowing access by several platforms simultaneously. This arrangement means that workers in the field can see the same data as managers in the plant.
Centralized data sharing empowers an integrated approach to water utility management software. Usage data can flow uniformly throughout the system to monitoring, billing, and customer account management platforms without the need for manual entry.
Implementing a Digital Strategy in Water and Wastewater Treatment Plants
In large water systems, rapid digitization may be a daunting task. Upgrading the entire system to include data-collecting sensors may be outside a realistic budget. Municipal water systems can identify which zones would benefit most from digital data collection.
If the utility is concerned about aging infrastructure and maintenance, it might start by adding sensors to the coldest zone in the system. Setting up this initial zone builds the framework for adding the digital collection to new areas in the future. It will also provide time to streamline the system for a smoother implementation of new zones.
Taking Security Seriously
Moving to a centralized data collection model comes with a new set of cyber security risks. Cybercriminals are always on the lookout for organizations with weak security protocols. Taking advantage of vulnerabilities can give access to system controls or private customer data.
Most security breaches are the result of human error rather than direct hacks. Everyone who works with the system should know standard phishing techniques and safe password practices. Water utilities can also employ role-based access protocols that prevent a cyberattack from gaining deep access to the system.
SCADA and Rapid Digitization
A SCADA system is perfect for implementing digitization. At High Tide Technologies, we design SCADA for municipal water collection, treatment, and distribution systems. Our team can build a cloud-based system that will provide real-time performance data and remote system controls. Contact us today to learn how SCADA equipment can play an integral part in your digitization strategy.