Project to secure Oman's vast water infrastructure

Oman's Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) plans to roll out a sophisticated automation system to secure the overall health and integrity of the nation's vast potable water infrastructure.

  
21 July 2015
MUSCAT: Oman's Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) plans to roll out a sophisticated automation system to secure the overall health and integrity of the nation's vast potable water infrastructure. At the heart of the initiative is a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system that will help the Authority centrally monitor and expeditiously manage potential leaks, breakdowns and other deficiencies in its expanding water networks. Additionally, the state-of-the-art system will enable the Authority to detect unauthorised intrusions into secure water-related facilities in operation at remote locations around the country.

International water solutions provider Veolia Water is assisting the Authority in the formulation of a long-term National SCADA Master Plan for the nation's multi-billion dollar water infrastructure. The French-based firm is already supporting the PAEW in enhancing the performance of Oman's water sector and reducing water losses, among other goals, under a long-term partnership arrangement.

According to Thierry Regad, Project Director, the SCADA project, along with the high-end instrumentation and software systems that come with it, are a reflection of the complexity and high value of PAEW's water networks encompassing assets that start at production facilities and end at consumer taps.

Securing this substantive infrastructure, which includes such assets as well fields, reverse osmosis plants, elevated tanks, water reservoirs, tanker filling stations, pumping and control equipment, and so on, is of critical importance, he noted.

As part of the master-plan study, experts from Veolia supported by PAEW personnel have already completed a preliminary inspection of an estimated 340 sites that together make up the Authority's burgeoning water supply infrastructure.  These inspections will pave the way for a precise and comprehensive mapping of the Authority's water related assets, said Regad.

As a long-range study, the national SCADA system will be master-planned to take into account projections in the growth of Oman's potable water infrastructure, according to the expert. A 30-year horizon has been envisioned in the design of the system.

When implemented and commissioned, Oman's sprawling water infrastructure will be secured by a national SCADA system that will be monitored and managed centrally via a National Control Centre. 

Additionally, each governorate will have its own regional control centre. The operation of networks will be fully automated as well.

In contrast, the country's water networks are presently monitored by a multiplicity of control rooms -- numbering over 25 -- that operate independently of each other.

Although ostensibly automated, the networks within the purview of each control centre need to be manually controlled.

However, once operationalised, the new national SCADA system will be of the essence in the real-time operation and maintenance of Oman's water storage and supply infrastructure, he added in conclusion.

© Oman Daily Observer 2015