SA Water has refreshed critical control systems attached to drinking water and sewerage infrastructure that services 1.7 million people.
The utility sought to improve resilience and lower the risk of service interruptions through an upgrade and centralisation of the critical Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) environment that supports its distributed operations.
The new system allows SA Water to “monitor, control, upgrade and support our critical infrastructure on demand, with minimal service interruptions, and in any situation, from isolated issues to a state-wide power interruption or targeted cyber attack.”
It also makes use of a new type of programmable logic controller (PLC) designed specifically for water treatment plants.
“A well-designed and resilient solution ensures ongoing stability and delivery of essential water and sewerage services to our customers,” it said.
“Taking advantage of recent technological advancements, our fresh approach to SCADA saw the replacement of our decentralised platform (system infrastructure located around the state) to a central, virtual solution in one secure data centre.”
SA Water said its new approach to SCADA “vastly improves both physical and cyber security, as well as guaranteeing quicker operational support and disaster recovery.”
“Our operations control centre is now able to take operational control of multiple sites within minutes, and cyber security techniques and patching are quicker and easier to manage,” it said.
“System rollbacks can be implemented with immediate effect, and a full system recovery can now be achieved within hours instead of the previous four-to-five days.”
In the event that equipment is unable to be centrally operated, such as due to a telecommunications failure, local workers at sites can re-take control using an emergency human-machine interface.
SA Water said the project aligned to the utility’s strategy of getting the basics right every time.
It also met other strategic objectives, showing it is 'leading the way' with new technologies and fresh approaches, and is 'working together' with 'capable and committed teams’ to manage the change.
The new SCADA system is expected to provide benefits to SA Water for the next 15 years.