From The Editor | March 26, 2014

Maintaining Data Acquisition Capabilities Through Storms, Cyber Attacks

Laura Martin

By Laura Martin

Not all technology holds up during a weather emergency. Electricity often fails, communication methods are compromised, and computer networks go offline.

Water utilities have to worry about how weather-related technology failures will impact their ability to provide clean, safe water to their communities. One concern is maintaining the ability to collect water system data, which is often essential to understanding the state of the system during and after an emergency. Many wastewater and water distribution utilities rely on SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems to measure valve, pump, and life station performance, tank levels, system pressures, sewer overflows, nonrevenue water loss, flow, and more. However, SCADA requires a continuous channel of communications between the host computer and each remote terminal unit, which can be compromised due to a loss of electricity or other technology failure.