The Quick Wins of Smart Water Technology in Drakenstein Using smart water technology, Drakenstein Municipality is able to pull data via satellites to its telemetric system – a smart system that monitors operations at the Municipality’s dams, reservoirs, boreholes and water treatment plants. The real beauty of this technology, explains André Kowalewski, Manager: Water and Wastewater Services at the Municipality, is that he or any of his senior management team can see, in real time, from his office, what is happening at reservoirs, pump stations and flow meters — as far as Saron. “The telemetric system tells us everything that is happening at all our sites. We can monitor phenomena such as rainfall, wind direction and speed, dam levels, and temperature. With a few clicks, you can go back to access daily data from years ago in case you need to do a comparison. “You can also observe how much water Drakenstein’s boreholes produce and at which pressure. “The technology gets updated continuously. And that’s not the only thing that’s smart, or internet-based and stored in the cloud. You could have electronica installed on meters and at reservoirs, and then this electronica reads the water levels all the time.”

Drakenstein Municipality is fast establishing itself as a leader in the field of smart water technology. Evidence of this is the growing popularity of André as guest speaker at conferences on this topic. In May this year, he was invited to address the Smart Water Networks Forum (SWAN) conference in Washington, United States of America. According to SWAN, a smart water network can be defined as: A fully integrated set of data-driven components and solutions which allow water utilities to optimise all aspects of their water distribution, wastewater collection, and treatment system. Smart water solutions improve the use of a utility’s physical assets by better measuring and acting upon network events. This impacts all aspects of the utility, including daily operations, maintenance, and network planning. With such knowledge, utilities can accurately set goals, plan investments, and address challenges such as leakage, energy efficiency, regulatory compliance, or customer service. André says the technology is expensive, but effective and in the long-run, it saves money. “The speed of the system is a huge advantage. Before we had this technology, we had to physically get into a vehicle and drive to where we wanted to be. If it was an outlying site, two workers had to drive to the site. Now you can monitor what is happening on your laptop or even your phone, 24/7. “The technology enables staff to monitor the operation from afar. You can even set an alarm on your cell phone that will notify you if anything out of the ordinary is happening at a site. This helps us to start preventative measures before something goes wrong.” Even though it is expensive to install, as most of the components they use to make up smart metering equipment come from overseas, the user reaps the rewards very quickly.


VARS | July

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