SCADA Benefits the Community

The island of Kauai, like every other community, requires a safe, dependable supply of potable water. Because many of Kauai’s facilities are very remote and located in harsh physical environments, equipment failures are not uncommon. Before the SCADA system was installed, these failures sometimes went unnoticed until the water supply was disrupted. Tanks overflowed, tanks ran dry, and occasionally chlorine residuals dropped to the point of having to issue boil water notices.

The SCADA system addresses these needs in two ways. First, equipment failures do not go unnoticed. When equipment fails, operations staff receive an alarm within minutes and have the information needed to decide if action is needed immediately or if the repair can be made at a later time. Second, SCADA supervisory control includes multiple sources of water for many of the tanks. If a pump is called to provide water to a tank, and the pump fails to start, the SCADA system reports the failure and then calls another water source to meet the demand. Consequently, the situation of a tank running dry or overflowing has been virtually eliminated.

In addition to ensuring the safety and reliability of the water supply, the SCADA system also has the potential to reduce the cost and frequency of equipment failures. Because KDOW staff doesn’t have to be dispatched to remote sites to check their operational condition on a routine basis, more time is available for preventive maintenance and system improvements. The availability of information also means that when there is a problem, the staff that responds will be equipped with information that will save time finding and fixing the problem. Finally, via the SCADA system’s SQL database, key information about water system performance is now readily, although securely, available to KDOW management, engineering and planning staff — a critical tool for analyzing their current and future operational needs.