Telemetry upgrade is watertight

Melbourne Water recently faced the challenge of replacing its 20-year-old, in-house developed IT system that controls the city's water supply, sewerage and drainage network with a new system without any possibility of disruption.

After a $4.9 million project spanning three years implementing a new telemetry network, Victorian Government owned Melbourne Water performed a live cutover from the legacy Integrated Telemetry Network (ITN) to its replacement.

Mal Haynes, group manager for IT at Melbourne Water, told Computerworld that the "live" cutover made the upgrade a complex "challenge"; but it was essential that Melbourne's water supply was not disrupted.

"We could not in any way compromise service to our customers. Melbourne Water achieved smooth cutovers because thorough testing with the active involvement of our operations people was undertaken before each stage of the cutover," he said.

In order to replace "outdated technology which was becoming increasingly more costly to maintain", Haynes said Melbourne Water selected the new Mosaic Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) network from IT services company Logica.

With the old system, he saiid: "The support knowledge base had diminished and lack of integration with other enterprise [systems] was becoming more of an issue."

Melbourne Water expects Logica's SCADA network to help the water treatment plant reduce on-going support and management costs.

Haynes said: "The SCADA system will produce savings because, unlike the legacy system, it uses standard hardware, therefore support will be less costly."

Another compelling reason to implement the new system, he said, was to ease integration with other corporate IT systems such as a geographic information system (GIS), asset management and financial systems.

The new network operates as a fully distributed database allowing monitoring and control of assets from any of the system's 31 work stations in nine Melbourne Water sites across metropolitan Melbourne.

The design of the system also allows remote dialup logins from almost anywhere.

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